Armoured vehicles have been patrolling Bahrain’s capital in a clampdown after clashes marked the first anniversary of pro-democracy protests.
Their re-emergence and a massive police presence highlights the Sunni Muslim monarchy’s fears of more civil unrest by the disgruntled Shi’ite majority.
Tight security in and around Manama was aimed at avoiding a repeat of major violence on the eve of the anniversary.
Hundreds of protesters broke away from an authorised opposition rally to march towards the site of the now-demolished Pearl Roundabout. Police stopped them with tear gas and rubber bullet pellets. Street battles ensued with youths throwing petrol bombs, rocks and iron bars.
Pearl Roundabout was the focal point of the 2011 uprising before the movement was crushed by security forces aided by Saudi troops. At least 35 people died during last year’s protests.
It is claimed dozens have been injured nationwide in the latest violence.