Clashes in Bahrain over opposition clampdown

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MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Thousands of anti-government protesters in Bahrain have clashed with riot police firing tear gas in demonstrations against plans to make political marches illegal.

Associated Press journalists say street battles took place in several places on Friday around the strategic Gulf island kingdom, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Many protesters denounced plans by Bahrain to halt giving permits for opposition marches, saying they disrupt traffic and everyday life.

The kingdom has been gripped by more than 17 months of clashes between the Sunni monarchy and protesters from the kingdom's Shiite majority, which claims it faces systematic discrimination.

At least 50 people have been killed in unrest in Bahrain since February 2011.

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