Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Bahraini security forces set up checkpoints and used tear gas to prevent protesters from returning to the Pearl Roundabout, the epicenter of rallies this year that the government quashed, a rights group said.
“Security forces used stun grenades and rubber bullets and tear gas,” the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said today in an e-mailed statement, adding that there were many injuries.
This year’s crackdown on the mostly Shiite Muslim protesters has claimed the lives of at least 35 people. Shiites represent about 70 percent of Bahrain’s population, according to the U.S. State Department, and have long demanded rights equal to those of Sunnis, including appointments to senior government and military posts.
Demonstrations in February and March called for full democratic representation and equal economic opportunities for Shiites. Bahrain’s hereditary Sunni rulers invited troops from neighboring Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies to help restore order, and accused Iran of fomenting the unrest.
The Bahraini Interior Ministry said in a Twitter message that about 350 people took part in an “illegal procession on Al Budaiya road after Ashura rituals in Diah” and that police “intervened.”
A 27-year-old Bahraini woman today died of injuries she sustained during a riot on Nov. 18 after she was struck on the head by an iron rod, state-run Bahrain News Agency said, citing an unnamed Health Ministry official. The official said she died of a circulatory shock that led to blood poisoning.
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