Protester runs car into police post, injuring 11 in Bahrain
Eleven people were injured in a Shiite village in Sunni-ruled Bahrain when the brother of an injured protester ran a car into a group of police officers, DPA reported.
Police clashed with protesters Tuesday night in Nuwaidrat, south of the capital, Manama, resulting in a head injury to a man whose brother then crashed a car into a police checkpoint a short time later, the Bahrain News Agency said.
Nine of those injured were policemen, four of whom suffered broken bones while the remaining five suffered minor injuries, doctors at the Bahrain Defence Force hospital said. The other two people hurt were protesters.
The condition of the two brothers was not released, but the agency said the driver was injured and in custody.
Protests demanding political reform and greater freedoms in Shiite-majority Bahrain began in February. At least 30 people have been killed during the government's crackdowns on protesters. Four policemen have also been killed, the Interior Ministry said.
The Nuwaidrat incident, which sparked a new wave of attacks on Shiite-owned business in some Sunni-dominated areas, came hours before a military appeals court was to deliver the final decision Wednesday on sentences of four protesters sentenced to death last month after being accused of killing two policemen by running them over with cars. Three other protesters linked to the case were sentenced to life in prison.
The sentencings have created a wave of criticism from human rights groups and the European Union.
Nuwaidrat was sealed off by police with residents reporting authorities had cut off their electricity as they carried out searches in the area. Neighboring Shiite villages were also sealed off.
Meanwhile, US officials diplomatic and security officials visited the Gulf island state and met Tuesday with Bahraini officials.
US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg affirmed the US commitment to Bahrain, home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet, while stressing the importance of respect for human rights and urging all parties to "pursue a path of reconciliation and comprehensive political dialogue."
The violence in Bahrain escalated in March when Gulf troops were deployed there and a state of emergency was declared to help quell the unrest.
The state of emergency bans all public gatherings and allows for arbitrary arrests and the trial of civilians in military courts. It is to be lifted June 1.