Bahrain Anniversary Protests

14th February 2013 Last updated at 10:15 GMT

Hundreds have taken to the streets to mark the second anniversary of an uprising in the Sunni-ruled kingdom

The Bahraini government has announced an investigation into the death of teenage boy during protests marking the second anniversary of a failed uprising.

Anti-government demonstrators have set up road blocks and clashed with members of the security forces.

Opposition groups have called for a general strike.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has called for the release of what it calls Bahrain’s “prisoners of conscience”.

The call by the human rights organisation comes on the anniversary of a protest movement that has led to two years of unrest and violence.

The organisation has adopted 22 political activists as prisoners of conscience, including several sentenced to life imprisonment.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said: “The government of Bahrain cannot carry on imprisoning people simply because it can’t take criticism.”

The death of a teenage boy in renewed clashes today is a further reminder that the simmering insurgency in Bahrain’s Shia villages is far from over. The government says it is investigating his death, the opposition is calling him a martyr, while some on Twitter are questioning why he wasn’t in school.

The clashes that have erupted on this second anniversary of the 14 February protest movement will be used by sceptics on both sides who do not want the current round of reconciliation talks between government and opposition to succeed.

Many Shias doubt the ruling family’s sincerity about granting more democracy and believe it is simply stringing the opposition along while giving away almost nothing. But many Sunnis and expatriates – who make up half the country’s resident population – say legitimate, peaceful protest often descends into riots and vandalism.

He added: “Many of the allegations put forward by the prisoners of conscience have still not been investigated by the authorities.”

‘Charges wrong’

Correspondents say that Thursday’s protest could mar reconciliation talks which began last week between opposition groups and the government and its loyalists in a bid to end political deadlock.

Witnesses said that the protest turned violent when police fired shotguns and teargas to disperse the crowds, wounding several people, witnesses said.

The website of the main opposition al-Wefaq group said that the boy, 16, was killed on Thursday in the village of Daih “when the regime forces targeted him with birdshot at close range”.

It says that the the teenager “sustained a serious injury to his stomach” and was taken to hospital before he died.

The interior ministry acknowledged that one person had been “brought in with injuries, but it turned out he had later died”.

The ministry said rioters had blocked several roads and security forces were seeking to restore order.

Witnesses reported that several roads connecting villages around Manama had been blocked, while schools for Westerners remained closed.

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