DUBAI (Reuters) - Bahrain's interior ministry said it had launched a security operation on Tuesday in the home village of the country's Shi'ite Muslim spiritual leader, the site of a sit-in encampment of his followers.
The rare incursion into Diraz follows Ayatollah Isa Qassim's sentencing this week to one year in jail, suspended for three years, on charges of corruption.
Pictures posted by activists online showed at least 10 armored police cars lining up and masked protesters erecting road blocks with planks and cinder blocks.
The images, which could not immediately be verified by Reuters, showed police shooting tear gas canisters.
"The implementation of security operation in Diraz village began this morning ... to impose security and general order after the area became a haven for people wanted in security cases and fugitives from justice," the ministry said on its official Twitter account.
Bahrain in 2011 crushed an uprising by Shi'ites demanding reforms that would give them a bigger voice in governing the Sunni Muslim-ruled country. Bahrain denies any discrimination.
(Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by William Maclean and Andrew Heavens)