Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in predominantly Shiite areas of Bahrain and set tires alight along a major highway to mark the fourth anniversary of widespread protests calling for reform in the tiny island nation.

The demonstrations Saturday commemorate the start of Arab Spring-inspired protests on Feb. 14, 2011. The demonstrations were dominated by the country's Shiite majority, and sought greater political rights from the Western-allied Sunni monarchy.

Authorities crushed the protests within weeks after getting help from Saudi and Emirati security forces, but unrest continues. Young activists armed with rocks and Molotov cocktails frequently block roads and clash with police.

Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, and is part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State militant group.