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Bahrain police fire tear gas after funeral

Anti-government protesters run as riot police begin firing tear gas Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, near Abu Saiba village west of the capital of Manama, Bahrain. Witnesses say opposition supporters in Bahrain have clashed with police for a third straight day along a main highway west of the capital. Police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse thousands of protesters gathered Saturday along Budaiya highway, which connects a string of largely Shiite villages west of the capital, Manama. Anti-government protesters run as riot police begin firing tear gas Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, near Abu Saiba village west of the capital of Manama, Bahrain. Witnesses say opposition supporters in Bahrain have clashed with police for a third straight day along a main highway west of the capital. Police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse thousands of protesters gathered Saturday along Budaiya highway, which connects a string of largely Shiite villages west of the capital, Manama. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
December 18, 2011
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MANAMA, Bahrain—Police in Bahrain on Sunday fired tear gas at thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-government slogans after the funeral of an elderly man who witnesses say died from tear gas inhalation.

The unrest Sunday is the fourth straight day of clashes between opposition supporters and security forces along a main highway west of the Bahraini capital Manama. At least 40 people have been killed since February, when Bahrain's Shiite majority started campaigning for more rights from Sunni rulers in the Gulf kingdom that is the home of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Amir al-Mouali said his 73-year-old neighbor, Abdulali Ali Ahmed, was taken to a hospital Saturday morning after struggling to breath during a night of heavy clashes near his home along the Budaiya highway, which connects a string of Shiite villages west of Manama.

Al-Mouali said Ahmed died Saturday evening.

In a statement Sunday, Bahrain's Interior Ministry said Ahmed died of natural causes.

The demonstrations along the strategic highway has been going since Thursday. The Budaiya highway leads to a junction that is roughly half a kilometer (a quarter of a mile) south of Manama's Pearl Square, the former focus of Bahrain's Shiite uprisings.

Government forces evicted protesters from the Pearl Square in March and tore down the pearl sculpture that marked the site.

The now heavily guarded square holds great symbolic value for Bahrain's opposition movement, and protesters have repeatedly tried to retake it.

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