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Riot police firing tear gas and stun grenades routed protesters in Bahrain's capital on Tuesday as the government came under mounting international pressure to release jailed leaders of last year's uprising. (AFP/Getty Images)
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An appeals court decision on Monday to grant a retrial to 21 opposition figures was not enough to defuse resurgent unrest among the Gulf Arab state's majority Shi'ite Muslims, and street rallies resumed on Tuesday.\n\nBahraini Shiites also attended a demonstration celebrating Labour Day in the village of Muqsha'a, West of the capital Manama .
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A heavy riot police presence cut short a demonstration in the market area of Manama as tear gas and stun grenades were unleashed at several dozen who chanted anti-government slogans.\n\nActivists also reported small rallies on the occasion of World Labour Day in a number of Shi'ite districts. Several thousand protesters and suspected supporter0s were sacked or suspended from work last year during a crackdown on the uprising and some say they have not got their jobs back.\n
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Shi'ites, whose unrest is seen by the Sunni Muslim ruling elite as a subversive bid to put U.S.-aligned Bahrain under the sway of Shi'ite Iran, complain of discrimination and marginalisation in political and economic life. Images by Getty, reporting by Reuters.
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\nThe government says many Shi'ites hold state posts and help run the economy and that police and judicial reforms have begun. But there has been no progress on the main opposition demand for a parliament with full powers to legislate and form governments.
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The cassation court, the highest judicial body in the Gulf Arab state, on Monday shifted the case of 21 men who were convicted in a military court to a civilian court and freed one, lesser-known prisoner. Seven of the 21 are abroad or in hiding.\n\nBut the court ruled the men would remain in jail, including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has been on a hunger strike for three months.
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The unrest has cracked the stability of Bahrain and spurred Saudi calls for a union of oil-exporting Gulf Arab monarchies to help counter Iranian influence and neutralise protest movements.
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The Manama government brands the opposition as Shi'ite Islamist extremists in the pocket of Shi'ite clergy-ruled Iran. The opposition denies this, saying such accusations are a pretext to cling to unfair privileges.
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A Bahraini Shiite Muslim boy wearing a headband reading 'Determined' takes part in a demonstration in the village of Jidhafs, west of Manama.