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Bahrain demonstrators clash with police over Iraq
Angry Bahrainis protesting against the presence of US-led forces in Iraq's holy cities have clashed with security forces in the capital Manama.
Violence broke out on Friday after police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of mainly Shia Muslim demonstrators demanding the withdrawal of US forces from the southern Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala.
One police car was set on fire.
"Death to America...death to Israel," chanted the protesters in the pro-Western Gulf Arab state, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.
Marchers carried portraits of Iraq's top Shia religious leader, Grand Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani, and some demonstrators wore white shrouds to indicate their willingness to die to defend the holy sites.
"America must leave our holy shrines...This is a red line they cannot cross. They are playing with fire," said a banner carried by the demonstrators.
US-led forces have been battling followers of the Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr in and around the two cities.
Sistani has called on both sides to withdraw their forces.
Protestors stand on a hill waving flags behind a burning security force vehicle in the Bahraini capital of Manama, May 21, 2004. Hundreds of angry Bahrainis protesting against the presence of U.S. led forces in Iraq's holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala clashed with security forces and set a patrol vehicle on fire. Sources said that a total of 13 people were injured. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
manama: Thirteen people were reported injured yesterday as more than 4,000 demonstrators marched in Bahrain calling for the withdrawal of US forces from the holy Iraqi sites of Karbala and Najaf.
A Reuters report said the violence broke out after police fired tear gas near the Dana Mall to disperse the demonstrators, some of whom overturned a Public Security vehicle and set it ablaze.
Among the injured were Northern Municipal Council vice-chairman Jawad Fairooz who suffered a hard blow on the neck during the disturbances and was transferred to the International Hospital of Bahrain for treatment.
An Al Wefaq official last night visited Mr Fairooz, who is also Al Wefaq elected bodies department head, and said he was in stable condition.
He added that one of the march leaders Shaikh Isa Qassim suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation and had to be taken home immediately.
Islamic Enlightenment Society information committee chairman Jaffar Al Qaddami told the GDN that among the others injured was a child who needed stitches in Salmaniya Medical Complex for a head wound.
The rally held between the Seef and Pearl roundabouts was led by Shaikh Isa Qassim and two other top clergymen Sayed Abdulla Al Guraifi and Sayed Jawad Al Wedaie. It was organised by the Islamic Enlightenment Society and Al Wefaq National Islamic Society.