Bahraini forces using tear gas on the protesters
Source: Press TV
Bahraini security forces have stepped up their crackdown on anti-government protesters who were trying to expand their rallies from the capital's main square to the country's main business hub.
The forces fired teargas canisters into the protesters, who were pushing to form a human chain blocking Bahrain Financial Harbor in Manama, AFP reported.
Hundreds of the people were reportedly wounded in the violence with live footage showing the forces shooting a protester at close range.
Demanding King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's ouster and constitutional reforms, the demonstrators have been peacefully camping in the Pearl Square since February 14th.
The square, which is the epicenter for the rallies, has become known to many as 'the Martyrs Roundabout,' in memory of those that died during Manama-ordered suppression of the popular uprising.
Meanwhile, pro-regime vigilantes brandishing knives and clubs attacked the students at the university. "The regime is using thugs," said Khalil Marzooq, a member of the main Shia opposition group.
The Persian Gulf state, mostly populated by Shia Muslims, has been ruled by Sunni kings for more than 200 years. The Shias have, however, long complained about being discriminated against by the government when it comes to employment opportunities and the right to public services.