Manama, Bahrain (Reuters) — Riot police officers in Bahrain battled youths who threw gasoline bombs on Sunday as violence escalated ahead of the Feb. 14 anniversary of an uprising last year.
Teenagers blocked off streets in the village of Sanabis, near the capital, Manama, taunting the police as “cowards” and “mercenaries” because some are thought to be Pakistani or Yemeni immigrants. One youth lobbed four gasoline bombs toward a group of police officers, who responded with a volley of percussion grenades and tear gas.
Shops were mostly locked up in the district. Many roads were blocked, and buildings covered with antigovernment graffiti.
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Bahrainis, mostly from the Shiite majority, took to the streets last February, inspired by the uprisings in other Arab countries, but the Sunni monarchy imposed martial law and stamped out the unrest in March with the help of Saudi and Persian Gulf troops.
Demonstrations resumed again after the emergency law was lifted in June and have recently escalated as the anniversary of the 2011 protests nears.
Bahrain is an ally of the United States and home base to the Fifth Fleet, which patrols the gulf.