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Bahrain Security Forces Clash with Protesters


Anti-government protester runs from tear gas fired by riot police in A'ali, Bahrain, November 23, 2011.

Anti-government protester runs from tear gas fired by riot police in A'ali, Bahrain, November 23, 2011.

Bahraini security forces have clashed with protesters in at least two Shi'ite towns just hours before the release of an independent report on the sectarian violence that engulfed the Persian Gulf nation earlier this year.

Wednesday's street battles first broke out in Aali, outside the capital Manama, after a man died when his car smashed into a house when police allegedly forced him off the road.

It is not clear whether the dead motorist had been involved in protests, which take place almost daily in minority Shi'ite areas of Bahrain and are often met with force.

Bahrain commissioned the much-anticipated report to investigate Shi'ite-led anti-government protests and a subsequent government crackdown featuring mass arrests and allegations of torture.

The country's Sunni Muslim authorities called in Saudi troops in March to help crush the protests they say Iran fomented through its co-religionists on the tiny island nation. Rights groups say more than 3,000 people were detained in the crackdown, and that as many as half of those faced abuse including electric shocks and beatings in detention.

Bahrain commissioned jurists led by Egyptian-American international law expert Cherif Bassiouni to investigate the unrest.

The probe is expected to be critical of Bahrain's Sunni authorities, but Shi'ite-led opposition groups insist they will not be satisfied unless top-level officials are implicated.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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