Security forces in Bahrain have attacked anti-regime protesters near the capital, Manama, as the ruling Al Khalifa regime continues its heavy-handed crackdown on dissidents.
Locals said they witnessed extensive use of tear gas and poisonous fumes when Bahraini forces sought to disperse protesters during an anti-regime demonstration in the northeastern island of Sitra on Tuesday.
The development comes days after several people were injured when Bahraini forces attacked anti-regime protesters in several villages of the country.
Bahrain police on Friday targeted demonstrators in Sitra with a barrage of tear gas canisters. Similar anti-regime protests were also crushed in the villages of Saiba and Daih.
The Friday demonstrations were held hours after thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Manama on the eve of the 2014 Formula One Grand Prix competition in Bahrain.
Opposition leaders have called on protesters to use the presence of foreign media at the race to have their voice heard by the world.
Human rights activists say the Formula One event is used as a political tool by the Manama regime to make the world believe that the situation in their country is normal.
Bahraini uprising started in mid-February 2011. On March 13 that year, forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were dispatched to the country at Manama’s request to quell nationwide protests.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds injured and jailed by the regime forces since the uprising broke out.
Last month, Amnesty International denounced the “relentless repression” of anti-regime protesters in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, blaming Bahraini security forces for their repeated use of “excessive force to quash anti-government protests.”
On February 14, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the Bahraini regime to respect its “international human rights obligations” in dealing with peaceful protests in the country.