Bahrain activists blame police in boy's death
Bahraini activists say tear-gas canister fired by the police at close range killed 14-year-old Ali Jawad Ahmad during protests early Wednesday, that have become a nightly feature
AP , Wednesday 31 Aug 2011
Masked Bahraini youths rest by a wall covered with layers of anti-government graffiti, August, (AP).
Bahraini security forces clashed with anti-government protesters after Wednesday morning prayers, killing a 14-year-old boy who died after being hit by a police tear gas canister, human rights activists said.
The activists blamed the police for the death of Ali Jawad Ahmad, who was among the crowd of protesters in the oil hub of Sitra.
The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights cited witnesses as saying the boy died after being hit by a tear gas canister fired at close range by police during the demonstration.
Bahraini officials confirmed a 14-year-old lost his life but gave no other details on the possible cause of death. A statement by the Interior Ministry said there was no reported police action in Sitra at the time the boy's death was reported.
It said an investigation was ordered into the death.
Isa Hassan, an uncle of the dead teen, claimed police overreacted when confronted by a small group of protesters after morning prayers marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Hassan said the tear gas was fired from about 21 feet (seven meters) away directly at the protesters.
"They are supposed to lob the canisters of gas, not shoot them at people," he said at the funeral for the boy. "Police used it as a weapon."
Bahrain has been gripped by ongoing clashes between police and Shiite-led protesters demanding greater rights and political freedoms in the tiny Gulf nation that is the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.
More than 30 people have been killed since protests began in February inspired by other uprisings across the Arab world.
Shiites are the majority in Bahrain but claim widespread discrimination by the ruling Sunni dynasty. Sunni rulers in the Gulf fear any concessions by Bahrain's Al Khalifa family to protesters would strengthen the region's Shiite powerhouse Iran.
Small-scale clashes between police and mostly Shiite demonstrators have become a near nightly event in the tense Gulf nation since authorities lifted emergency rule in June.