World Bulletin/News Desk
The leader of Bahrain's leading opposition party was hit by a rubber bullet and teargas canister during clashes with riot police on Friday, the party said, describing it as an escalation of government efforts to stop protests.
Sheikh Ali Salman was hit on the chest and shoulder, his Wefaq party said in a statement, and several others were also injured including Hassan Marzouk, pictures of whom circulated on social media showing him lying on the ground covered in blood around the neck.
There was no immediate Interior Ministry comment on the incident, but the ministry said late on Thursday it would prevent Wefaq organising a protest in the Sehla district on the edge of the capital.
It said the protest would obstruct traffic and that it had licensed numerous Wefaq protests already this year.
Witnesses said there was a heavy police presence to stop protesters reaching the site. They saw police fire teargas and demonstrators throwing petrol bombs.
"Security forces have been careful in dealing professionally with political leaders but this time was different. It seems a gradual crackdown is going on," said senior Wefaq party member Matar Matar. "They are closing the small margin for freedom of expression."
The Gulf Arab state, which hosts Washington's Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protesters took to the streets in February 2011, after revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
The ruling Al Khalifa family has extended parliament's powers of scrutiny over ministers and budgets, but rejected demands for full legislative powers and elected governments.
The government says Wefaq and its supporters have a Shi'ite sectarian agenda. The opposition says this is an excuse to avoid giving up privileges.
Israeli Prime Minister has once again slammed the West for anti-Israeli sentiment....
Powers iron out renewed cessation of hostilities following renewed fighting, particularly around Aleppo
US defense chief Carter says coalition will increase military support to local partners in Syria and Iraq to fight ISIL
Police stormed press syndicate’s Cairo HQ on Sunday and arrested two journalists for ‘inciting protests’ and ‘plotting to overthrow regime’
34 inmates already handed over to Syrian Red Crescent, prison sources say
Jordan shares 375-kilometer-long border with Syria, punctuated by numerous informal crossings
Head of UN humanitarian efforts for Syria warns of 'endless suffering' caused by renewed fighting
Riyadh and Khartoum have signed agreement to explore minerals in joint territorial waters of Red Sea
Sources say no clashes were reported in Latakia’s northern countryside and Eastern Ghouta since Friday
A fresh offensive with a rebel coalition has fought against the Assad regime overnight in Aleppo
The police raid provokes a firestorm from journalists, who stage a sit-in amid calls for sacking the interior minister
''The target date for the transition is first of August,' Kerry says
'Participants will meet... on Wednesday in a plenary session to follow up with the agreed agenda,' UN envoy says
Kurdish peshmerga forces and Hashd al-Shaabi militiamen had recaptured Bashir village from ISIL last week
'Aleppo is burning and it is crucial that we focus on this top priority issue,' British envoy says
UN panel says 'the use of solitary confinement in Israeli jails has doubled between 2012 and 2014,' with the number of people held in isolation jumping from 390 to 755 over the period