Protests erupt in Bahrain after execution of Nimr al-Nimr

Friday 01/01/2016
Nimr’s execution exacerbates tensions

DUBAI - Police in the Sunni-ruled Gulf state of Bahrain clashed on Sunday with Shiite protesters a day after neighbouring Saudi Arabia executed a leading Shiite cleric, witnesses said.

They said violence erupted in several Shiite suburbs of the capital Manama, with police using tear gas and buckshot against protesters throwing petrol bombs.

Some injuries were reported.

On Saturday, police in Shiite-majority Bahrain again used tear gas against protesters demonstrating after the execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a driving force of protests in Saudi Arabia's east in 2011, who was among 47 people executed in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Sunday's unrest saw protesters carrying pictures of Nimr march through several suburbs of Manama, among them Jidhafs, Sitra, Duraz and Bilad al-Qadeem.

Witnesses said the violence was worst at Sidra west of the city, with some 400 demonstrators clashing with police.

The same sources said security forces used tear gas against protesters in Duraz who blocked a road and hurled stones at police.

Bahrain has backed Riyadh over Saturday's executions.

Authorities had said that they would take "all necessary legal measures" against any "negative" actions in response to the death sentences, which they would consider as "inciting sedition and threatening civil order".

They also warned of legal measures against anyone who used "social media networks to spread rumours that influence security".

Bahrain, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been rocked by a Shiite-led uprising since February 2011, with demands ranging from a constitutional monarchy to overthrowing the ruling dynasty altogether.

Scores of opponents have been detained, with many facing trial, while others convicted of involvement in violence have been handed heavy sentences, including loss of citizenship and life in prison.