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Protests sweep Bahrain after teen's death

Last updated 23:27 02/09/2011
Bahrain funeral
CATALYST: Family members and well-wishers carry the coffin of teenager Ali Jawad Ahmad during his funeral procession.

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Thousands of Bahrainis chanted slogans against the Gulf state's king Thursday at the funeral of a teenager who rights groups say died after being hit by a tear gas canister fired by police.

Hundreds of youths later demonstrated late into the night in several mostly Shi'ite villages, confronting police who tried to disperse them firing tear gas and percussion grenades, residents said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

Small-scale protests and clashes with security forces have frequently broken out in areas where the majority Shi'ite Muslim population since the Sunni-dominated government crushed widespread anti-government protests earlier this year. Around 30 people were killed during the unrest.

Saudi and United Arab Emirates troops helped US-allied Bahrain stamp out the protests it says were driven by Shi'ites and instigated by non-Arab Shi'ite power Iran across the Gulf. Opposition groups deny this.

At Thursday's funeral, about 10,000 marched peacefully and called for the overthrow of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and the royal family, a Reuters correspondent said.

The marchers, many of them in tears, shouted "Down with Hamad" and "Death to al-Khalifa" as they carried the Shi'ite boy's body from his family's home to a cemetery.

The government denied that police were responsible for the death of 14-year-old Ali Jawad Ahmad and offered a 10,000 dinar reward for information on the incident.

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- Reuters

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