Police, protestors clash in Bahrain in first day of anniversary demonstrations
Bahrain's pro-democracy demonstrators clashed with security police in Bahrain on the third anniversary of the country's Arab Spring uprisings that was largely crushed by Bahraini authorities with the assistance of Saudi-led troops, according to Agence France Presse Thursday.
The majority Shiite-led opposition has called for three days of protests to mark the anniversary and as a part of a new campaign calling for political reform in the Sunni-minority led country.
Witnesses reported that "clouds of tear gas" covered the streets of several Shiite-majority villages around the capital Manama as authorities attempted to contain the demonstrations. Protestors allegedly also set up many makeshift roadblocks of rotten trees and burning ties as a way to defy the police crackdown.
The government has reported that the police have confronted all "vandals" and "cleared [all of the] blocked roads."
The opposition, which has largely been lead by the main Shiite opposition party Al Wefaq, has boycotted the parliament since the 2011 uprisings and has demanded that the ruling Khalifa monarchy relinquish its power in order to move towards a democratically-elected government.
Al Wefaq has been one of the main organizers of the demonstrations, calling for a nationwide strike Thursday ahead of the planned massive rally Saturday. The underground February 14 coalition has also called on the opposition and its supporters to try to reach Pearl Square Friday in honor of the anniversary.
Pearl Square has largely become Bahrain's Tahrir, now serving as the main symbol of the 2011 uprisings.