Street skirmishes have broken out in Manama, Bahrain's capital as anti-government protestors were blocked by police forces from getting to the epicenter of last March's protests.
The protests come on the eve of a key election in the country. The election will fill parliamentary seats that were vacated by opposition leaders after the government crushed the demands of protestor's last March, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
Hundreds of youths confronted the police deployment as protestors attempted to cross over to the Pearl roundabout in Manama, the symbolic epicenter of March's protests.
Security forces responded with shotguns, rubber bullets and teargas, reports the Financial Times. Pro democracy protests in March were quelled by Saudi-led gulf troops who entered the country to stop the Shiite led protests against the minority Sunni government.
Though there have been a few reconciliatory measures on the part of the government, protests have been on the upswing in the last few weeks- undermining the government's ability to restore stability in the country.
The Shiite lawmakers who resigned from their seats have called for a boycott of the voting. They believe that the by-elections on Saturday are a sham an attempt to deal with their complaints.
“We don’t want the type of democracy they had in Egypt – I won’t support false democracy,” said Sheikh Ali Salman, the secretary general of the opposition party Al Wefaq to the Financial Times. “The clashes between the security forces and the people will continue – there is no chance to end it without a democratic solution,” he said.
Though the government has denied the use of rubber bullets and shotguns, cartridges and gunshot pellets were littered across the street in Sanabis, a Shiite village that had seem some of the heaviest clashes.