Policeman, protesters wounded in Bahrain clashes

Bahraini security forces clashed with anti-regime protesters early Friday, leaving several people wounded including a policeman who was shot with a home-made gun, the interior ministry and witnesses said.

Hundreds took part in protests that erupted late Thursday and lasted until the early hours of Friday across several Shiite villages after a call was issued by the opposition February 14 Coalition youth group, witnesses and activists said.

"We will remove you (King) Hamad," was the banner slogan issued by the opposition group to rally protesters against the Sunni monarch, witnesses said.

Police fired birdshots to disperse the protesters, witnesses said, while the interior ministry said on Twitter that "security forces confronted a terror group in Diraz" village near Manama during clashes that left a policeman wounded after he was shot with a home-made gun.

Activists said dozens more were wounded in the clashes, but no official toll was immediately available.

Bahraini authorities often use the term "terrorists" to refer to Shiite demonstrators who regularly protest against the Sunni dynasty despite a 2011 crackdown backed by Saudi-led Gulf troops, sparking repeated clashes with security forces.

On Wednesday, a car bomb exploded outside a Sunni mosque in a neighbourhood where the royal court is situated but caused no casualties, the interior ministry said.

After the bombing, the interior ministry announced it has banned a rally which was planned by the opposition for Friday in the Shiite villages of Khamis and Sar.

At least 80 people have been killed in Bahrain since the protests erupted, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.