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Democracy activists face police tear gas

Bahraini activists clashed with police as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets

Bahraini activists clashed with police when thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Saturday, sending tear gas into a shopping centre and bringing the capital Manama's streets to a standstill.

The Interior Ministry said that a police officer, one of two injured in what it called a "terrorist blast" on Friday in the village of Dair, died yesterday.

More than 65 people have died in the unrest.

Heeding calls by Bahrain's main Shi'ite coalition al-Wefaq, around 15,000 Bahrainis marched in Manama a day after the third anniversary of the start of the anti-government uprising.

The protesters marched for several miles before clashes erupted.

Police fired tear gas at the crowd, which included women and children.

The protesters carried the red and white Bahraini flag and signs that read: "Democracy is the only solution."

Protesters erected makeshift barriers to keep police back, burnt tyres to block the effects of the tear gas and threw rocks back at the security forces. Some protesters were seen carrying Molotov cocktails.

Anti-government factions have been increasingly using small-scale bombs against government forces.

Former MP and opposition figure Abdul-Jalil Khalil said that "serious dialogue" was necessary, but could not happen while activists are imprisoned.

"Today's events come as a result of a culture of denial by authorities who insist on security solutions and refuse to enter into meaningful dialogue," he said.

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