Explosions and clashes between Sunni monarchy-supported security forces and anti-government Shiite protesters in Bahrain have marked the third anniversary of the Gulf nation’s Arab Spring-inspired uprisings on Friday.
Protesters, organized by a group called “the February 14 youth coalition,” gathered for a march on the Pearl roundabout in Bahrain’s capitol city Manama. The circle has been heavily guarded by government forces since the original unrest in 2011. Security was tightened in anticipation of Friday’s march, and some surriounding Shiite neighborhoods blockaded roads with burning oil slicks and trash.
Local human rights watchers reported that 38 protesters were injured by tear gas and flying birdshot. A bomb was detonated next to a minibus in a Shiite village near the capitol, injuring three police officers.
The government opposition called for three days of protests in an effort to resuscitate their efforts to establish an elected government.
Since the original uprising, Bahrain’s ruling government has been supported by troops from other Sunni-lead Gulf states, lead by Saudi Arabia.