A democracy protester argues with police in Bahrain (Reuters)
A Bahraini policeman has died of wounds caused by an explosion at pro-democracy demonstration.
The attack, which the government attributed to "terrorist" forces, occurred during clashes in al-Akr, a village 12 miles south of the capital Manama. Another policeman was injured by the blast at the rally called by the pro-democracy 14 February Youth Coalition, said the interior ministry.
In al-Akr, which has a Shia majority, villagers chanted: "The people want to topple the regime" and "Down Hamad" referring to the king. The interior ministry said the bomb was home-made.
With a Sunni monarchy, the majority Shia population has for years been disfranchised and left on the margin of the country's political life.
The government has mainly depicted the protests as Shia-led and based on sectarian demands. But no single evidence of Shias targeting Sunnis in the country has been found, according to opposition leaders.
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The opposition does not condone violence
Pro-democracy activists and opposition figures in Bahrain have often appealed to protesters not to use violence against the security forces, calling for peaceful protests.
"The common thing between us and pro-democracy activists is that we all call for peaceful protests," opposition al-Wefaq party leader and resigned MP Ali Alaswad told IBTimes UK during an exclusive interview.
He said al-Wefaq bans the use of Molotov cocktails and is trying to stop its diffusion among protesters.
Bahraini activist Maryam Al-Khawaja, activist and acting president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), told IBTimes UK that the Centre does not condone violence - although some distinctions had to be made. "You cannot equate young boys throwing Molotov cocktails and stones with police using systematic excess of violence," she said.
"If you ask me when the last protester was killed by Bahrain I can give you a precise date: it was a 16-year-old protester shot with bird guns two weeks ago and he died in the streets," she continued during the interview.
"When was the last police officer killed? I asked a police official during a live interview. He refused to respond, because he knew the response would be more than a year ago."
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