DUBAI : Protests broke out in Bahrain after the execution of two-opposition activists on terrorism-related charges revived tension over the weekend in the kingdom, a Western ally that has cracked down on dissent since a failed 2011 uprising.

Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators in Bilad al-Qadeem suburb where one protester died from gas inhalation on Saturday, four activists said.

A government spokesperson said in a statement that the man died from natural causes.

People also took to the streets in several Shia villages and neighborhoods on the outskirts of capital Manama on Sunday night in response to Saturday's  execution of  Ali al-Arab and Ahmed al-Malali, who were sentenced to death last year on terrorism crimes in a mass trial.

Videos and pictures posted verified social media accounts of activists showed demonstrators clashing with security forces, burning tires and building road blocks.

The protests are the most significant unrest in more than two years in the island state, headquarters of  US Navy's Fifth Fleet, since authorities in 2017 executed three Shia men convicted of killing three policemen in bomb attack.

Bahrain has a Shia majority and is ruled by Sunni royal family. It is the only one of the Gulf monarchies to have faced serious unrest during the Arab Spring protests that swept the Middle East and North Africa in 2011.

Asked about the demonstrations, the government spokesperson said that Bahrain upholds constitutional rights for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, but ''any acts of disorder that disrupt public safety require legal actions to be taken'' in accordance with internationally recognised standards. [Reuters]


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