Bahraini police battle protesters backing prisoner

AP News
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Posted: Apr 24, 2012 11:45 AM
Bahraini police battle protesters backing prisoner

Witnesses say police in Bahrain have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters calling for the release of a jailed hunger striker.

The protesters clashed with police Tuesday as they attempted to march toward Pearl Square, the focal point of an uprising against the monarchy in its early weeks last year. The square is now heavily guarded and ringed by razor wire.

As they marched, the protesters called for hunger striker Abdulhadi al-Khawaja to be set free. The activist's family say his health is seriously declining nearly 11 weeks into his protest, but authorities say he faces no immediate medical risks.

Al-Khawaja was jailed during a crackdown on a Shiite-led uprising against the ruling Sunni dynasty.