Thousands protest against government in Bahrain

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Bahrain to demonstrate against the government in a permitted protest in the Gulf kingdom.

The demonstrators marched west of Bahrain’s capital, Manama, on Friday to protest new strict new laws designed to curb dissent.

Opposition parties called for the protest and it had prior approval from the government — meaning it wasn’t broken up like others recently called by demonstrators in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Security forces have kept other protests away from the center of the capital in this country that’s home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

The island nation with a native population of more than 550,000 has been gripped by near nonstop turmoil since February 2011, when Shiites inspired by the Arab Spring began the uprising.

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