Bahraini riot police take position at an area near Pearl Square in Manama in February
Bahraini riot police take position at an area near Pearl Square in Manama in February 2011. Bahraini authorities violently dispersed thousands of protesters who marched towards Manama's centre on Friday after the funeral on a key opposition figure's father who allegedly died after he was beaten by police, an opposition ex-MP said. © Joseph Eid - AFP/File
Bahraini riot police take position at an area near Pearl Square in Manama in February
AFP
Last updated: November 4, 2011

Bahrain forces violently disperse protest

Bahraini authorities violently dispersed thousands of protesters who marched towards Manama's centre on Friday after the funeral on a key opposition figure's father who allegedly died after he was beaten by police, an opposition ex-MP said.

"Security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets, and used police cars to try to run over protesters who marched in thousands towards Pearl Square," epicentre of month-long anti-regime protests in the spring, after the funeral of 70-year-old Ali Hasan al-Dehi, Matar Matar told AFP.

The protesters headed from the western village of Dehi towards the square, which was the symbol of a protest inspired by uprisings sweeping the Arab world and which was razed shortly after demonstrators were driven out in mid-March.

Matar said he did not have information on the number of Friday's casualties.

Dehi was the father of Hussein al-Dehi, who is deputy head of Bahrain's largest Shiite opposition formation, Al-Wefaq. The organisation claimed he died after riot police attacked him, while the health ministry said the cause of death was "a heart attack and hypertension."

"Even if he wasn't beaten to death, his health deteriorated due to the violence used against him," Matar argued.

Earlier this year, Bahrain's Sunni monarchy crushed pro-democracy protests, spearheaded by the majority Shiites, with the help of troops from other Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia.

Twenty-four people died during the month-long crackdown crackdown, according to official figures from Manama.

Four protesters have since died in custody.

The opposition says 40 people were killed.

The Gulf kingdom is awaiting a report by an independent commission of inquiry into the crackdown, which is expected on November 23.

Though mass protests had subsided, tensions have remained high as the trials of dozens of opposition figures and protesters continue in the capital.

"Such actions by Bahraini authorities take place on and on again despite the presence of an inquiry commission in Bahrain," said Matar.

"The Bahraini government feels that it has been given international immunity. This is why it continues in this direction."

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