DUBAI: Bahraini riot police fired tear gas and made arrests on Friday to disperse hundreds of Shiites trying to march in the capital Manama, witnesses said.
The protesters, some of them chanting "The people want the fall of the government," tried to gather in several parts of the capital after a call sent out by February 14 youth activists led by Shiites, witnesses said.
They said an unknown number of demonstrators were arrested.
The interior ministry said on its Twitter account that "saboteurs" threw Molotov cocktails at the police who then intervened to restore order.
A separate demonstration called by Al-Wefaq, the main Shiite opposition group, took place without any incident at a thoroughfare west of Manama.
Thousands rallied in that demonstration carrying Bahraini flags and banners that read "Stop shedding our blood," witnesses said.
Demonstrations are common on Fridays in Bahrain since it was shaken by a protest movement last year led by Shiites demanding a constitutional monarchy in the Shiite-majority tiny Gulf kingdom ruled by a Sunni dynasty.
The International Federation of Human Rights says 80 people have died since the start of the revolt last year. The interior ministry says 700 people have been wounded, including police.