Middle East

Prominent Bahrain human rights activist arrested

Riot police detain an anti-government protester in Manama October 12, 2012. (REUTERS/Stringer)

DUBAI: Bahraini police arrested prominent Shiite rights activist Mohammed al-Maskati on Tuesday for his participation in anti-government protests, his lawyers said.

Maskati was taken to a Manama police station where he was questioned about his role in Friday protests, said his lawyers, who had been present.

They added that he would be referred to the public prosecutor's office on Wednesday and could be charged with participating in an "illegal gathering."

Maskati is the president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights.

On Friday, riot police and hundreds of Shiite protesters clashed on the outskirts of the capital.

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 Shiite-led youth activists.

The interior ministry said "saboteurs" threw Molotov cocktails at the police, who responded with tear gas to disperse the crowds.

A separate demonstration called by Al-Wefaq, the main Shiite opposition group, took place without any incident at a thoroughfare west of Manama.

It was not clear which protest Masqati participated in.

Demonstrations are common on Fridays in Bahrain since it was shaken by a Shiite uprising against the kingdom's ruling Sunni regime last year.

The International Federation of Human Rights says 80 people have died since the start of the revolt. The interior ministry says 700 people have been wounded, including police.





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