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Bahrain mourns dead protesters, anger grows

February 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Anger continues to mount against monarchy in Bahrain, where funerals are being held Friday for protesters killed during demonstrations.

The deadly crackdown by police was enforced Thursday in the capital city of Manama as authorities banned public gatherings.

Five people were killed and more than 230 injured. Friday, soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air as thousands of protesters marched in the city center.

Hospital officials said at least 20 people were injured, some seriously.

The clash came hours after funeral mourners and worshippers at Friday prayers called for the toppling of the Western-allied monarchy in the tiny island nation that is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, the centerpiece of the Pentagon's efforts to confront Iranian military influence in the region.

The protests in Bahrain started with calls for less power in the monarchy and an end to discrimination against Shiites.

Now, demonstrators are demanding that the entire ruling family step down.

In Manama, soldiers placed roadblocks and barbed wire around Pearl Square and other potential gathering sites. Work crews tried to cover up protest graffiti.

The White House has expressed "strong displeasure" about the rising tensions in Bahrain.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.