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Giving tear gas the boot in Bahrain

March 23, 2012 |  5:18 pm

Tear gas in Bahrain

Every day on World Now, we choose a striking photo from around the globe. Today we picked this photo from Bahrain, where police fired tear gas at protesters -- and this protester kicked it back.

Tear gas has flooded Bahraini streets as the country has been rocked by protests pushing for more democracy and more influence by Shiite Muslims in the Sunni monarchy. Bahraini loyalists have condemned protesters for lobbing Molotov cocktails and stones at police, violent acts that have been caught on video.

"Police have been using tear gas to create distance between them and gangs of rioters that have been, on a very steady basis, day after day, assaulting police officers with Molotov cocktails and also with bricks, nails and other things," John Timoney, an advisor to Bahraini authorities, told the Voice of America last month.

Opposition activists complain of police abuse and excessive force against demonstrators, including rampant tear gassing. The U.N. human rights office recently said it had credible reports that rising numbers of protesters and bystanders had been killed by inhaling tear gas, and it called for an investigation.

The government created a commission to look into abuses after a crackdown on the protests, which erupted last year. The step was lauded by observers, but activists say the country hasn't followed through on its recommendations and allege that abuses have continued.

The United States has pressed Bahrain to use less force and stop prosecuting protesters, but the situation is politically prickly for Washington, which counts on the Persian Gulf nation as a bulwark against Iran.

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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: An antigovernment demonstrator kicks a tear gas canister fired by riot police Friday during clashes in the Shiite village of Sanabis, on the edge of the Bahraini capital, Manama. Credit: Hasan Jamali / Associated Press

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