Angry Bahrain Shias bury dead of police raid

AFP , Friday 18 Feb 2011

Bahrainis began burying victims of a violent police crackdown on anti-regime demonstrations

Friends and relatives chant anti-government slogans during the funeral of Mahmoud Maki Abu Taki (Photo: AP

Angry Bahraini Shias began Friday burying the dead of a violent police raid on anti-regime protesters as tanks and troops kept a tight security clamp across Manama ahead of weekly Muslim prayers.

The funeral of two men killed by police began in the Shia village of Sitra, east of Manama.

Mourners wrapped the bodies of Ali Khodeir, 53, and Mahmud Mekki, 23, with Bahraini flags and chanted slogans urging national unity between Sunnis and Shias who form the majority in the kingdom that is ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.

They also chanted, "People want to overthrow the regime," the slogan used by anti-regime protesters across the Arab world inspired by the uprisings of Tunisia and Egypt which brought down the former two strongmen of the Western-backed countries.

Two funerals of two others killed in the 3.00 am raid are scheduled to take place after the noon prayers, a relative said.

"No Sunnis. No Shias, only national unity," chanted the mourners whose community complains of discrimination and faces suspicion over its loyalty to Bahrain, amid Gulf fears of Iranian attempts to use Shiites to destabilise the staunch US-allied Sunni monarchies.

They also chanted slogans calling for the government to be held responsible for the killings, witnesses said.

Officials put the death toll of Thursday's raid of Pearl Square at three, but the Shia opposition said four were killed in the attack. Nearly 200 people were wounded.

Demonstrators had camped in the square on Tuesday after two demonstrators were killed. Many chanted slogans calling to overthrow the monarchy.

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and hollow-point bullets to disperse them in a violent raid that also left almost 100 protesters wounded.

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