Bahrain Police Fired Rubber Bullets, Arrested Dozens, Opposition Says
Bahraini riot police fired rubber bullets and arrested dozens of protestors during a mass demonstration outside a Shiite mosque on Friday, opposition leaders said Sunday.
"Thousands of Bahrainis demonstrated after weekly prayers at the Ras Al-Roumman mosque," said Mansur Al-Jamri, spokesman for the London-based Bahrain Freedom Movement.
The protest was organized as part of Jerusalem Day, launched by Iran after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and celebrated on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
"Riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets against the demonstrators and arrested several dozens and questioned them," he told AFP.
"The demonstrators, who were shouting anti-Zionist slogans, threw stones back at the forces of repression," Jamri added. He did not know if there had been any serious injuries.
"The repression shows the lack of credibility of the authorities who have announced the forthcoming restoration of parliament and a referendum," Jamri said.
Bahrain Tuesday announced democratic reforms to restore an elected parliament, which was dissolved in 1975, and turn the emirate into a constitutional monarchy. A national charter on the reforms will go to a referendum at an unspecified date.
Bahrain introduced an elected parliament in 1972 but it was scrapped three years later for "obstructing the work of government."
The mainly Shiite Muslim opposition has campaigned for it to be restored, sparking unrest that cost at least 38 lives between 1994 and 1999. The unrest eased after Sheikh Hamad took over as emir last year after the death of his father -- NICOSIA (AFP)
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