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Bahrain witnesses: Activist hurt by gas canister

Associated Press Modified: June 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm •  Published: June 28, 2012

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Bahraini police wounded a prominent human rights activist by shooting her in the leg with a tear gas canister, witnesses said Thursday.

Yousef al-Muhafedha, a member of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said he saw police use a gun to fire the canister at Zainab al-Khawaja at close range after anti-government protesters gathered in the village of Buri southwest of the capital of Manama a day earlier.

Police appeared to recognize al-Khawaja, he added.

The injury did not appear life-threatening. Associated Press photos taken shortly after the shooting showed her limping with blood trickling down her right leg.

Al-Khawaja is the daughter of jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, whose hunger strike of more than 100 days brought renewed international attention to the protest movement in Bahrain. She couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

The government Information Affairs Authority said police had not received al-Khawaja's claim of injury, but that all such cases are taken seriously.

"If citizens have been harmed due to misconduct or negligence, they are requested to immediately file a complaint so that it can be investigated as soon as possible," the authority said in an emailed response to questions.

It added that "precaution should always be exercised" by Bahrainis taking part in unauthorized demonstrations.

Clashes between police and protesters happen nearly every day.

As night fell Thursday, witnesses said police fired tear gas in an effort to disperse protesters in Aali and other predominantly Shiite villages south and west of Manama.

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