Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hundreds injured during clashes between rival groups in Bahrain

Hundreds of people were injured in Bahrain Friday, when rival groups clashed over an attempted march in the town of Riffa, a residential area where the ruling Al-Khalifa family lives.

The national health ministry said 774 people were injured and 107 were hospitalized in the wake of the fighting.

Anti-government demonstrators in Riffa had planned a march. A crowd numbering roughly 8,000 set off on the march, according to Bahrain's ambassador to the United States.

But they were met by hundreds of people carrying swords, hatchets, metal pieces, cricket instruments and pieces of wood with nails hammered into them. The opposing group had already taken up positions in an effort to stop the planned march.

Bahrain's ambassador to the United States took the unusual step of commenting on the clashes in Riffa, which he called a "sectarian conflict" between Shia and Sunni Muslim factions. Law enforcement officers had erected barbed wire fences in an attempt to ward off any fighting, Houda Ezra Nonoo said in a statement.

The conflict began when small groups from opposing sides met at the security fence, she said. (read more)