Sectarian clashes erupted
at a girls' school in Bahrain on Thursday as the country looked
increasingly split between Shi'ites protesting against the
government and Sunnis who support it.
The Gulf Arab country has been gripped by the worst unrest
since the 1990s since protesters took to the streets last month,
inspired by uprisings that unseated entrenched rulers in Egypt
Seven have been killed in clashes with security forces in
the Gulf island kingdom, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet,
and thousands of the Feb. 14 youth movement are still occupying
Manama's Pearl Square.
Witnesses said fighting broke out at a school in the small
city of Sar, an area where both Shi'ites and Sunni live, when
students launched anti-government protests.
"During the break we went on a peaceful protest, we
gathered, a few girls. Next thing we know a group of naturalised
people were let into school and the school door was locked, they
had iron and wooden sticks and knives," said one student.
They said parents of pro-government students of naturalised
Sunni families came to the school armed with clubs. Parents of
Shi'ite parents then also arrived and clashes erupted.
Bahrain's practice of settling Sunni foreigners serving in
its security apparatus is a thorny issue for the Shi'ite
opposition. It views it as an attempt by the Sunni ruling family
to change the country's sectarian balance, an accusation the
It was not clear whether there were any injuries but one
witness said he saw an ambulance driving away one girl.
The country saw the first clashes between Sunni and Shi'ite
residents last week when at least a hundred residents fought
with clubs in Hamad Town, an area where people of both sects
live. Several residents were injured.
It was not clear what prompted the clashes that lasted about
two hours before police and politicians calmed the situation,
but residents said that people of Syrian origin had been
involved.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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