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Police fire teargas, birdshot at Bahrain demonstrators

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August 14, 2013 AT 3:01 PM
Bahraini police fired tear gas and birdshot at demonstrators, witnesses said, as protests calling for democratic change in the U.S.-allied Gulf kingdom turned violent. Activists have stepped up a two-and-a-half-year-old campaign to push the Sunni Muslim ruling family into allowing more democracy in the Shi'ite-majority state of 1.25 million people. Bahrain is an important U.S. regional ally against Shi'ite Iran.