Security forces in Bahrain have reportedly shot protesters attending a funeral for victims of yesterday’s clashes as anti-government unrest appears to be spiraling in the tiny Persian Gulf nation. Other reports sat that government soldiers fired tear gas at the demonstrators.
According to the BBC, gunfire has been heard in the capital city of Manama and ambulances had arrived at the scene of disturbances.
However, details of any such shooting have not been made clear.
Thousands have joined the funeral procession, including crowds arriving from Friday prayer sessions, all demanding the overthrow of the ruling al-Khalifa family.
Crowds angrily chanted down with the regime, and labeled the ruling family as “criminals.” They also called out for a Trial, trial for the criminal gang, and Justice, freedom and constitutional monarchy.
We used to demand for the prime minister to step down, but now our demand is for the ruling family to get out, Ahmed Makki Abu Taki, the brother of one of the victims, told Reuters.
Tanks have been deployed in key strategic points of the city
In a counter-trend, government supporters have also held a rally and march in Manama, with protection from security forces. Reportedly, the pro-government demonstration attracted non-Bahrainis, including Sunni Muslims from other Gulf states and South Asia.
Bahrain is ruled by a Sunny Muslim royal family, however the majority of the population (including, presumably, the overwhelming majority of protesters are Shia.
Shia groups claim they are repressed and marginalized by the Sunni elite.
Western powers have urged Bahraini officials to exercise restraint in their treatment of demonstrators and implement some reforms. Notably, the small kingdom is home the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.