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Bahrain troops fire at protesters

posted 18 Feb 2011, 10:03 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 18 Feb 2011, 10:05 ]

Reuters video shows tear gas being fired in Manama where protesters and security forces clashed. Gunshot is also heard and the opposition says at least 23 people have been wounded.

Security forces have fanned out across the Bahrain capital Manama on Friday (February 18) after at least four people were killed in anti-government clashes.

A former Shi'ite lawmaker said the army shot at protesters marching towards Pearl Square, wounding least 23, in Friday.

Sayed Hadi, of the Wefaq bloc that resigned from parliament on Thursday (February 18), said two of them were in a critical condition.

A Reuters cameraman filmed tears gas being near Pearl Square and gunshots were also heard.

Another Wefaq MP, Jalal Firooz, said demonstrators had been elsewhere, marking the death of a protester killed earlier this week when riot police fired tear gas at them.

The demonstrators then made for Pearl Square, where army troops who took it over after Thursday's police raid opened fire, Firooz said. Police had no immediate comment.

Lebanon's Hezbollah-run al-Manar television quoted a doctor at Salmaniya hospital in Manama as saying 25 wounded had been admitted, two of them with serious wounds.

Witnesses said about 20 police cars had driven toward the square after the initial shooting..

Four people were killed and 231 wounded when riot police raided the protest camp in the early hours of Thursday, when most of the demonstrators were sleeping.

Soldiers in tanks and armoured vehicles later took control of the square, which mainly Shi'ite protesters had hoped to use as a base similar to Cairo's Tahrir Square, the heart of protests that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on February 11.

Several thousand mourners turned out on Friday to bury those killed in what Bahrain's top Shi'ite cleric called a "massacre" ordered by the island's Sunni ruling family to crush protests.