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Clashes at Bahrain protester’s funeral

April 24, 2012

DUBAI, April 23: Protesters taking part in the funeral in Bahrain of a man allegedly shot dead by security forces clashed with police on Monday in the village of Bilad al-Qadim, witnesses said.

“Hundreds” took part in the funeral of 36-year-old Salah Abbas Habib who was found dead in a village on Saturday, after the opposition said police “brutally” dispersed a protest there, witnesses said.

Security forces on Monday fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the protesters who hurled petrol bombs and stones at policemen, the sources said.

No casualties were reported.

Meanwhile, the Gulf kingdom’s main opposition bloc Al-Wefaq said in a statement that Habib’s body “was received today and was examined by Al-Wefaq and some lawyers and (a) doctor who were present in the morgue”.

The English-language statement said that the findings revealed that Habib had a “neck fracture” in addition to “bird shot pellets,” bruises, and “severe burns” across several parts of his body.

Al-Wefaq, which had announced the man’s death, said security forces on Friday night “attacked peaceful protesters, brutally beating some of them with various tools and weapons” in Shakhura village.

They accused authorities of killing him. The interior ministry released a statement saying it was investigating Habib’s death which was being treated as murder.

“The government condemns all acts of violence and will ensure the perpetrators of this crime, whoever they may be, will be brought to justice,” the ministry quoted Public Security Chief Major General Tariq al-Hassan as saying.

Habib’s death coincided with the controversial staging of the three-day Formula One Grand Prix, highlighting the deep divisions between the ruling dynasty and protesters.

The opposition used the media presence for the race to intensify protests over the past week in Bahrain, which was the site of an uprising last year that left 35 people dead in one month, according to an independent probe.—AFP