Bahraini police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of Shia demonstrators who took to the streets for yesterday’s fourth anniversary of their protests.
Police deployed heavily as men and women carrying Bahrain’s red and white flag and portraits of detained activists chanted slogans.
Protesters burned tyres and blocked roads.
The police fired tear gas and sound bombs after boosting security around several villages and along major roads to prevent protesters advancing towards central Manama, witnesses said.
The main opposition bloc Al-Wefaq, in a statement, urged protesters “to stick to the non-violent movement and... refrain from putting lives and private and public properties under threat”.
“The calls for violence acts do not relate to the Bahraini people’s peaceful movement for democracy,” it said.
The government overcame protests led by the Shias shortly after they erupted on February 14, 2011.
Yesterday was also the anniversary of a 2001 referendum in which Bahrainis approved a national charter for reform which restored a parliament dissolved in 1975. In February 2002, Bahrain became a kingdom ruled by a constitutional monarchy.
The radical February 14 Coalition, a cyber youth group described as by authorities as “terrorist”, had called for demonstrations and strikes across the kingdom to mark the anniversary.
But the public security chief, Major-General Tariq al-Hassan, issued a stern warning.
“Action will be taken against those who spread terror among citizens or residents, put the safety of others at risk or try to disrupt the nation’s security and stability”, he said. .
Bahrain has revoked the citizenships of scores of activists over the past few years.
In October, a court banned Al-Wefaq for three months for violating a law on associations.
The political rivals have struggled to bury their differences through a “national dialogue”. In November, the opposition, however, boycotted parliamentary elections.
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