Hundreds of Bahraini youths shouting anti-government have taken to the streets in Bahrain despite a heavy police presence to mark the fifth anniversary of an uprising calling for political change in the tiny island kingdom.

Witnesses said demonstrators in the largely Shiite community of Sitra, south of the capital, Manama, attempted to march Sunday onto a nearby highway but were turned back by police firing tear gas.

Some of the demonstrators hurled petrol bombs and paint bombs at police, and blocked roads to their communities with iron rods and trash to keep security forces out.

Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. It has seen five years of low-level unrest following 2011 protests driven by the country's Shiite majority demanding greater political rights from the Sunni-led monarchy.