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Tear gas clears Bahrain protesters

Riot police in Bahrain have fired tear gas to disperse several hundred protesters who took to the streets demanding the government's resignation after a report uncovered torture and other abuses against detainees.

The protesters carried the red and white Bahraini flag as they marched nearly four miles along a road running through Shiite neighbourhoods in a northern district of the island kingdom.

After the march, several hundred protesters gathered at a roundabout, prompting police to seal off the road and clear the crowds with clouds of tear gas.

Bahrain's Shiites, about 70% of the nation's 525,000 subjects, complain of widespread discrimination under the kingdom's Sunni rulers, including being blocked from top government or military posts.

The monarchy has offered some concessions but refused to bow to demands for greater political freedoms.

Activists accuse the government of failing to implement the recommendations of a fact-finding mission it authorised.

The mission's 500-page report, released in late November, found a number of detainees were tortured as "a deliberate practice by some" during the height of the protests in February and March.

The report was also highly critical of a special security court created under martial law that issued harsh penalties, including death sentences, and "denied most defendants elementary fair trial guarantees".

Bahrain later lifted martial law and dissolved the security court.

Marchers called for the release of political prisoners, some of whom were tried by the special security court, and for the trials of police officers believed to be behind the killings of more than 35 protesters since anti-government protests began 10 months ago.


From Belfast Telegraph