Bahrain's state-run news agency says 12 people have been detained and charged with unlawful assembly over demonstrations near the home of a Shiite cleric targeted in a crackdown on dissent in the tiny island kingdom.

The Bahrain News Agency reported the charges Wednesday, saying the 12 were arrested in Diraz. That's where protesters have held a sit-in and demonstrated in support of Sheikh Isa Qassim, who lost his citizenship in June over government allegations he fanned extremism.

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said six of the 12 were Shiite clerics.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain has faced low-level unrest since its 2011 Arab Spring-inspired protests, when its Shiite majority and others called for more political freedoms. Since April, the government has embarked on a fierce crackdown on activists and others.