Bahrain protests under control with no losses whatsoever
DUBAI - Bahraini police headed off a protest Wednesday that Shiite-led opposition activists called for near the US embassy in defiance of a government ban.
They fired tear gas and buckshot at protesters who ventured out in several Shiite villages, witnesses reported.
The interior ministry said police deployment, which began on Tuesday, was aimed at "preserving security and order, and to guarantee an easy flow of traffic."
There were no reports of injury in the clashes that erupted after sunset in a number of Shiite villages around the capital Manama.
The interior ministry said "terrorists" briefly blocked the Khalifa al-Kabeer highway, in Muharraq governorate, with burned tyres, before security forces cleared the way.
In another statement, it said an Asian fork-lift driver was injured when a "group of terrorists" hurled a petrol bomb at the vehicle while it was clearing a road blocked by protesters.
Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa expressed firm and strong resolve to go ahead with counter-terrorism measures in order to eradicate violence from its grass roots, stressing that there is no room for truce or compromise when it comes to national security and sovereignty which have to be safeguarded.
This came as he paid a surprise visit to Seef Mall and City Centre to make sure of the continuation of the normal flow of the commercial and economic activities in the kingdom.
The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction, hailing the “citizens’ vigilance and awareness of the dangerous nature of calls” that aim at inciting people to violate the law.
The deployment of security forces on Wednesday prevented protests called by the Bahrain Rebellion Movement, Tamarod, for the main rally.
The group posted on Wednesday a call to gather at 4:00 pm (1300 GMT), near the US embassy. But a new location was announced later in the day.
An online video statement by Hussein Youssef, who is said to be one of the founders of Tamarod and who lives abroad, called on protesters to assemble at Al-Seef junction, west of Manama.
Tamarod was formed last month, mimicking Egypt's Tamarod movement, which spearheaded the nationwide protests that triggered the army's overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
On August 1, Tamarod posted an open letter asking the US embassy to provide protection for a rally at its doorstep, saying it poses "ethical responsibilities" for Washington.
In Washington, Marie Harf, deputy spokeswoman at the US State Department, said she was "not going to speculate about what might or might not happen" on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Prince Khalifa warned on Saturday that the government would not tolerate any threat to public order.
King Hamad issued an amendment this month to the law on public gatherings, banning protests in the capital. He also decreed stiffer penalties for "terror acts."
The authorities report a growing number of shootings and bombings targeting police stations and patrols in Shiite villages outside Manama, blaming "terrorists."