Bahrain Police Disperse anti-Regime Protest

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Bahrain police on Friday fired tear gas to disperse Shiite protesters who took to the streets of the capital Manama chanting anti-regime slogans, witnesses said.

The demonstration coincided with the final football game in the Gulf Cup of Nations being hosted in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

"Down (King) Hamad," yelled protesters who attempted to march in small groups in the narrow alleys of central Manama, as riot police fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades, said witnesses.

Police arrested several protesters, including at least one woman, they reported.

Protesters also staged demonstrations and burned tires in villages outside Manama as they failed to reach the capital due to a heavy security cordon, other witnesses said.

The demonstration in Manama was called for by the February 14 Youth Coalition, an Internet group that regularly calls for protests in the Shiite-majority kingdom ruled by the al-Khalifa dynasty.

Bahrain's government said on Thursday the demonstration had not been authorized and warned security forces would prevent it from going ahead.

The Gulf state has been shaken by unrest since its forces in March 2011 crushed a month of popular Shiite-led protests demanding greater rights and an end to what they said was discrimination by the Sunni royals.

The International Federation for Human Rights says 80 people have died since the start of the Arab Spring-inspired uprising on February 14, 2011.

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