Bahrain detains 22 over unrest, including for F1 demos

AFP , Sunday 28 Apr 2013

Bahraini security forces apprehend 22 people on charges of alleged acts of violence and stirring unrest

Unrest in Bahrain (Photo: Reuter)

Bahrain has rounded up 22 people suspected of attacking security forces and blocking roads during protests, including in the lead-up to its Formula One race this month, police said.

The arrests were made in Shiite villages and were related to alleged acts of violence since late February, said a police statement carried late Saturday by BNA state news agency.

In one of the arrests, police detained six people suspected of participating in a March 7 "terrorist attack" on police patrols in the village of Maqaba, west of the capital Manama, it said, adding security forces were still searching for other suspects.

Others were arrested over alleged attacks on police with petrol bombs and metal rods.

Police also arrested two people suspected of blocking roads and setting tyres ablaze in the area of Dair, close the airport, on April 14, when Shiite demonstrations intensified against Bahrain hosting the Formula One Grand Prix race on April 21.

It was unclear when all of the arrests were made.

Al-Wefaq, the main Shiite opposition formation, said on Saturday that police arrested 14 people during raids on Thursday and Friday.

Shiite youths frequently clash with police in villages surrounding Manama. In some cases they hurl petrol bombs and burn tyres. Police fired tear gas and buck shot to disperse them.

The Shiite Muslim-majority kingdom, ruled by a Sunni dynasty, was rocked by a month-long uprising in 2011, which was crushed with the help of Gulf troops led by neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

Strategically located just across the Gulf from Iran, Bahrain is home base to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet and is also a major offshore financial and services centre for its Arab neighbours in the oil-rich Gulf.

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