Thousands march at Bahrain teenager's funeral

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 01, 2011 2:33 PM
Thousands march at Bahrain teenager's funeral

DUBAI (Reuters) - Thousands of Bahrainis chanted slogans against the Gulf state's king on Thursday at a funeral of a teenager who rights groups say died after being hit by a tear gas canister fired by police.

The government denied that police were responsible and offered a 10,000 dinar ($26,500) reward for information on Ali Jawad Ahmad's death.

"The coroner's report indicates that the markings on Ali's neck are not consistent with being hit with a tear gas canister or rubber bullet as some have claimed," the government said in a statement on Thursday.

About 10,000 marched at the 14-year-old boy's funeral, calling for the overthrow of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and the royal family in the small island state which crushed a pro-democracy movement earlier this year, a Reuters witness said.

The marchers, many of them in tears, shouted "Down with Hamad" and "Death to al-Khalifa" as they carried the Shi'ite boy's body from his family's home to a cemetery, the witness said.

The crowd dispersed peacefully and there were no clashes with police forces.

Small-scale protests and clashes with security forces frequently break out in areas where the majority Shi'ite Muslim population live after the Sunni-dominated government launched a widespread crackdown against anti-government protests.

Around 30 people were killed during the unrest.

Saudi and United Arab Emirates troops helped U.S.-allied Bahrain stamp out protests it says were driven by Shi'ite sectarian motivations and instigated by non-Arab Shi'ite power Iran across the Gulf. Opposition groups deny this. ($1 = 0.377 dinar)

(Writing by Firouz Sedarat; Editing by Karolina Tagaris)