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Bahrain protests: American activists arrested (VIDEO)

An American rights group said six Americans were detained in Bahrain, for involvement with the protests.

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In this photo from December 23, 2011, Bahraini anti-government protesters run for cover from tear gas during clashes with riot police near the headquarters of the main Shiite opposition group, Al-Wefaq, in Zinj Village, west of Manama. A rights group is reporting that six Americans have been arrested amid protests marking the one-year anniversary of the Shiite uprising in Bahrain. AFP PHOTO/STR (-/AFP/Getty Images)

The US-based rights group Witness Bahrain claims that six American citizens have been detained in Bahrain during the anti-government protests on Tuesday, marking the one-year anniversary of the Shiite uprising, reported the Associated Press.

The group released a statement saying that six activists were arrested during a peaceful march in Manama and are being held at a police station. The activists from Witness Bahrain wanted to maintain a foreign presence in Bahrain's capital during protests, to mitigate the government's crackdown.

Two other Americans, Radhika Sainath and Huwaida Arraf, were arrested on Saturday and deported on Sunday for their role as part of a team of monitors during the peaceful protests, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

Sainath, a civil rights attorney from California had outlined her reasoning for going to Bahrain on Witness Bahrain’s website:

“A doctor who I only knew by the name of A* explained how security forces would attack Shia villages with teargas and birdshot on a daily basis, break into houses at night and toss teargas canisters into tightly packed homes, arresting anyone suspected of involvement in the democracy movement. Would we come and stay in these villages? Surely, the government would behave differently if Americans and Europeans were watching.”

Reports from Reuters said that protesters flung petrol bombs at police cars in the early dawn hours, which prompted the police to fire tear gas into crowds. Al Jazeera reported that at least 30 people were arrested, according to activists’ reports.

More on GlobalPost: Bahrain protest anniversary turns violent (VIDEO)

A march organized by Al Wefaq, the largest political opposition group, numbered around 10,000 on Monday, and when violence broke out the Bahraini government blamed the organizers for failing to control the crowd, according to Al Jazeera.

A former member of parliament from Al Wefaq, Abdel Jalil Khalil, said, “They have used excessive force against the people throughout all this time, but people keep coming back to the streets to insist on their demand to have a role in the decisions about their country.”

More on GlobalPost: Bahrain: Riot police use tear gas on protesters in clash

Here is a video of Arraf, one of the activists arrested two days ago, refusing to cooperate with authorities in Manama (linked by The Christian Science Monitor):

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120214/bahrain-protests-american-activists-arrested-video