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Death of Bahrain activist sparks violent protest (VIDEO)

Published time: September 13, 2013 13:36
Edited time: November 26, 2013 14:18

Still from RUPTLY video

At least 12 protesters have been arrested in the north of Bahrain after a mass funeral of an opposition activist turned into a violent rally.

Protesters threw stones and street debris at riot police in the north of Bahrain, following a mass funeral of a 22-year-old activist in the village of al-Daih on Thursday, according to RT’s video agency, Ruptly.  

Demonstrators, who blocked roads with burning tires and cement blocks, were confronted by Special Security Forces officers, who arrived on tanks and riot jeeps and fired tear gas at the rally participants. 

Mohammed Abduljalil Yousif, an opposition activist, died on Wednesday and was immediately pronounced a ‘martyr’ by his fellow protesters, who believe he was run over by a police car. 

An alternative theory concerning the young activist’s death has been put forward by unnamed sources, cited by Gulf Daily News. They say Mohammed Abduljalil was killed by a tree, which he and his friends were trying to cut down in order to block a road as part of their protest activity. 

"His friends panicked when one of the trees fell on him and he was lying in a pool of blood,” the daily is citing the source. "They didn't call police, but took him to IHB [the International Hospital of Bahrain] where he was pronounced dead.

It’s not the first time protesters are claiming their fellow activist was run over by a police car. One of the most recent cases was in November 2012, when demonstrators accused police of killing a 16-year-old boy. The incident caused rioting as well.

Situation in Bahrain has been volatile with regular rallies staged by the opposition ever since the country’s ‘Arab Spring’ uprising was suppressed two-and-a-half years ago. The Shiite-led revolt back then was crushed by security forces protesting the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty. 

Human Rights Watch says more than 80 people have died in uprisings since they began in February 2011. 

One of the most vocal critics of the government, activist Nabeel Rajab, has been serving a three-year term in jail since August 2012.

Reports of human rights violations in Bahrain have become a loaded issue for Washington, as the kingdom is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

A series of massive and violent rallies took place in April, while the country was hosting the Formula One race and protesters were trying to draw the attention of the international community to the lack of democratic freedoms in Bahrain.

Bahrain's parliament responded with new tough laws passed in July. The legislation bans protests in the capital and gives authorities the right to strip citizenship from those convicted of violence.

The UN has repeatedly called on Bahrain for it to permit entry of the United Nation’s envoy to the kingdom to investigate allegations of human rights abuse. Bahrain has refused to comply.

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