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Feb 14, 2:25 PM EST

Bahrain protesters, police clash as island marks uprising


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Anti-government protesters in Bahrain clashed with police on Tuesday as they marked the sixth anniversary of the tiny island kingdom's Arab Spring uprising.

Images posted on social media showed masked protesters hurling rocks and other projectiles at riot police, who responded with tear gas. Protesters elsewhere were seen marching peacefully through rain-soaked streets, carrying the national flag.

Large-scale protests led by Bahrain's Shiite majority erupted on Feb. 14, 2011, demanding political reforms from the country's Sunni monarchy. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets then, with many occupying a prominent roundabout known as Pearl Square.

Authorities backed by forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates eventually suppressed the protests. The government later agreed to some reforms, but low-level unrest continues.

At the United Nations, deputy spokesman Farhan Haq reiterated "U.N. concerns about restrictions on fundamental freedoms, including restrictions on fundamental freedoms including rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression in Bahrain."

"We have encouraged and continue to encourage the government to undertake meaningful and confidence-building measures including a genuine national dialogue so as to help ensure peace, stability and prosperity for all Bahrainis," Haq said.

Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

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