Bahraini police kill teen headed to Friday prayers
Authorities in Bahrain are being blamed for the death of a 16-year-old boy, as opposition supporters and human rights activists said police prevented people from attending Friday prayers by setting up checkpoints and firing tear gas at the crowds.
Ali Radhi reportedly tried to break through police barricades to get to a mosque, and was then chased onto a highway where he was struck by a car and killed. According to activists, the boy’s family blamed the officers and the police barricades for their son’s death.
The security measures kept many people from attending the Friday prayers of Sheik Isa Qassim, who denounced Bahrain’s move earlier this week to revoke the citizenship of 31 Shiite activists and lawyers.
“The revoking of citizenship from honorable people is aimed at punishing those who have opposition views,” he told worshippers who managed to reach his mosque in the Diraz village. The town is a Shiite district outside the capital of Manama.
According to Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja, worshippers prayed on the streets after they realized they won’t be able to enter the mosque. Several people attempted to scale the walls in order to avoid the security blockade.
Image from twitter.com @angryarabiya
Al-Khawaja also tweeted a photo of the young boy who was killed on the highway, as well as his family preparing for his funeral. She also wrote that police were preventing outraged Bahrainis from attending the burial.
The crackdown came after authorities blamed Shiite religious figures for fueling tensions in Bahrain, the strategic home of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
For 21 months, the island kingdom has faced nearly nonstop unrest between the Sunni-led government and protesters from the country’s Shiite majority who seek greater political representation. More than 55 people have died and hundreds have been arrested in the unrest since February 2011.