Bahraini protesters battle police outside Manama

Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:44pm GMT

By Andrew Hammond

MANAMA (Reuters) - Bahraini protesters battled with riot police near Manama on Friday after the funeral of a woman whose family said she died after tear gas entered her home twice in the past week.

A U.N. rights body this week expressed concern over the use of excessive force and tear gas by Bahraini security forces.

Police moved in with water cannon and armoured vehicles to break up hundreds of protesters as they approached a checkpoint near 'Pearl Roundabout', hub of pro-democracy protests last year led by majority Shi'ite Muslims complaining of marginalisation.

The wind carried some of the tear gas away, allowing youths to lob petrol bombs at close range at the vehicles, scoring direct hits. The water cannon fired hot water during the clashes in the district of Jidhafs on the edge of the capital.

The protesters carried banners in the name of the February 14 Youth Coalition, a movement formed since last year's uprising which says it wants the overthrow of the Al Khalifa family that dominates Bahrain's government and economy.

Police later brought in reinforcements of at least several hundred riot police with batons and shields who fired tear gas into the neighbourhood as youths taunted them from a distance, sometimes grabbing the tear gas canisters and hurling them back.

"Come and fight hand to hand, you cowards, you animals!" one teenager shouted before throwing a rock at police, a mainly Sunni force which employs many foreigners.

Police fired back, engulfing a vegetable market in tear gas.   Continued...

Anti-government protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in the village of Jidhafds, west of Manama, March 23, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
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