Protesters and Bahraini police clash after funeral procession

 
Several hundred people from Bahrain's capital Manama marched on the city’s main Pearl Square on Friday after attending the nearby funeral of Ali Hassan Al Daihi – father of prominent opposition figure Sheikh Hussain Al Daihi. According to our Observer, police used teargas, rubber bullets and even targeted participants with their cars to break up the procession.
 
Tensions were running high in Al Daih, a town on the fringes of Manama on Thursday when Al Daihi, 78, died from a heart attack after he was allegedly beaten by riot police the night before. Supporters of his son, Sheikh Hussain, deputy secretary-general of the opposition al-Wefaq party, quickly blamed the security forces for his death. Authorities maintain that Al Daihi died of natural causes.
 
A funeral procession was held early Friday morning in Al Daih. According to reports, hundreds of people from surrounding areas turned out for the march, before heading on toward Manama’s Pearl Square.
 
For many in Bahrain, the square is emblematic of the weeks of unrest that plagued the country in February. Although more than 70 percent Shiite, Bahrain is controlled by a Sunni monarchy, which has been criticised for discrimination against its majority population. The protests, which were inspired by popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, dragged on for weeks before they were finally quelled.
 
On Friday, police quickly sought to break up the advancing crowd, using tear gas and armoured vehicles to drive them back. According to Bahraini officials, the clashes caused no injuries.
 
In the wake of the Friday’s clashes, this video was posted on Youtube by alibahrain85. The Observers Team is still working to verify its authenticity. If you have any information regarding this footage, please contact us at observers@france24.com.
Contributors

“The police closed down all of the roads and train services leading to Al Daih to prevent as many people as they could from participating in the funeral”

Ahmed Bahrain (not his real name), is an activist who participated in Friday’s funeral procession for Ali Hassan Al Daihi in the town of Al Daih.
 
The funeral started at around 9 this morning. The police had already closed down all of the roads and train services leading to Al Daih, to prevent as many people as they could from participating in the event. Despite this, I would say that around 8,000 people were there [media reports put this figure lower, at several hundred]. They either came from the surrounding villages, or they were people like me who left their homes early so as to avoid the roadblocks.
 
The police arrived as some of the protesters attending the funeral started to march toward Pearl Square in Manama. They used tear gas and rubber bullets to break the crowds up. Most of us were trying to avoid face-to-face clashes, but at least two young people were beaten up by the police before being arrested.
 
One of my friends told me that he had seen the police trying to run protesters down with their cars to keep them from getting to Pearl Square.
 
In Bahrain, it’s traditional to have a funeral procession, and then for the family to receive condolences for the next three days. When this period is over, we will gather again and protest some more”.
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