Bahrain policeman dies after protest anniversary bombing

A police special unit inspects the police patrol mini bus which was hit by explosions at a police checkpoint in the village of Dih A police vehicle near the village of Dih was also hit by a blast

A policeman in Bahrain has died of wounds from a bomb blast during protests marking Friday's third anniversary of the country's uprising.

The interior ministry said he was one of two officers wounded in a "terror blast" in the village of Dair.

Another three policemen were injured by an explosion near the village of Dih.

Protesters were marking the 2011 unrest fuelled by demands for more rights and an end to discrimination against the majority Shia community.

On Friday demonstrators attempted to reach the site of a bloody crackdown on demonstrators almost three years ago.

Several demonstrators were reportedly wounded by security forces. The interior ministry said in a statement that 26 people were arrested on suspicion of "rioting and vandalism".

Police used tear gas to stop them from reaching the Pearl Roundabout, which was a focus of protests in 2011.

Since then, police and demonstrators have scuffled almost daily. Thousands of people have been arrested.

Associated Press quoted the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights as saying 38 protesters had been hurt in clashes since Thursday evening, with injuries caused by birdshot fire, tear gas and beatings.

Repeated clashes

The government and opposition have held two rounds of fruitless reconciliation talks, with a third expected soon.

The protesters are mostly from poorer, Shia areas in the villages outside the capital.

Protesters have repeatedly used burning tyres and other debris as a tactic to block police vehicles from entering Shia areas.

Sunni Muslims are a minority in the country but through the al-Khalifa dynasty have ruled over the Shia Muslim majority for more than 200 years.

The small island country is a key US ally in the Gulf and hosts the US Navy's 5th Fleet.

Bahrain is also closely allied with Saudi Arabia, which in 2011 sent troops into the country to help the government quell the uprising.

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