BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 23 December 2007, 18:12 GMT
Bahrain rocked by days of clashes
Protestors in Bahrain on 20 December 2007
Shias complain of discrimination by the Sunni-led government
Bahrain has been hit by rioting in majority Shia areas for a fifth consecutive day, according to local press reports.

Security forces used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators in Shia villages, leaving one protester dead on Monday.

Local media reports say 39 people have been arrested and around a dozen injured in the clashes.

The island has a Sunni ruling family but a Shia majority population.

The 22-year-old man died in hospital after inhaling teargas, according to opposition activists.

But security sources cited by the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) maintain that the protester died of natural causes.

Petrol bombs

Some 500 demonstrators threw petrol bombs and stones at security forces in the north of the island on Thursday, according to Bahraini media reports.

The Al-Wasat newspaper on Sunday reported a statement by the independent Bahrain Human Rights Association that security forces had made 39 arrests and around a dozen people had been injured during the demonstrations.

Map of Bahrain

Monday's protest was staged by Shias reportedly demanding compensation for what they said were victims of human rights violations between 1980 and 1990.

Al-Ayyam daily said that the number of arrests "does not exceed 20 people".

It quoted an interior ministry official as saying those detained were accused of "setting fire to a police car and stealing weapons in the Jid Hafs area".

The Haq, or Movement of Liberties and Democracy, said in a statement sent to AFP news agency that the security forces continued arresting young Bahrainis on Sunday morning in several Shia villages west of the capital, Manama.

Al-Wasat printed a statement by the main Shia movement in the Gulf archipelago, the Islamic National Accord Association (INAA), in which it called on the interior ministry to "stop these illegal and inhuman actions... and free the detainees immediately".

Country profile: Bahrain
09 Oct 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Bahrain
09 Oct 07 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific