MANAMA, Bahrain, (AP) – Police fired tear gas at dozens of rioters in Bahrain on Tuesday as the public prosecutor charged three Shiite Muslim activists with promoting a coup.
The island in the Persian Gulf is a close U.S. ally and hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. The country’s Shiite majority last month staged widespread protests fueled in part by economic disparities between them and the predominantly Sunni ruling elite.
Rioters hurled stones Tuesday and burned tires and trash cans, causing traffic jams outside the capital, Manama, witnesses said. Several rioters were injured, but police would not give a specific number.
The riots erupted Monday when the three activists were arrested after allegedly refusing to answer summons for questioning linked to arrests last month of 14 Bahrainis for allegedly plotting attacks in Manama.
The riots continued Tuesday after the prosecutor’s office announced that the three had been charged with promoting a coup “through terrorism,” according to a statement by the office.
The statement said they also were charged with joining an outlawed group, violating other citizens’ liberties and inciting hatred against the ruling regime. One activist was released but banned from traveling, and the two others were in custody, the statement said.