Bahraini troops shot at demonstrators on Friday and wounded many, a former Shi’ite lawmaker said, as government crackdowns on protests in West Asia and North Africa turned increasingly violent.
Bahraini troops shot at protesters near Pearl Square on Friday and wounded many a day after police forcibly cleared a protest camp from the traffic circle in Manama, killing 4 people and wounding more than 230.
Several thousand mourners turned out in Bahrain on Friday to bury three of those killed in what the island’s top Shi’ite cleric called a “massacre” ordered by the Sunni ruling family to crush protests inspired by Egypt.
Revered cleric Sheikh Issa Qassem denounced the police attack on the square and said the authorities had shut the door to dialogue, but stopped short of calling for street protests.
“The massacre was on purpose to kill and to hurt and not to clear any demonstration,” he said. People interrupted his Friday prayer sermon in the village of Diraz, shouting “The people want the fall of the regime.”
The mostly Shi’ite demonstrators had hoped to turn Pearl Square into a base like Cairo’s Tahrir Square, fulcrum of the popular revolt that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
In a loyalist demonstration in Manama, hundreds of pro-government supporters, waving flags and pictures of the king, streamed through streets, local TV footage showed.