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.