Bahraini anti-government protesters watch for riot police between clashes in the debris-filled main street of Musalla, Bahrain on February 13. Rubbish and oil smeared on the road are meant to deter police jeeps from entering the village, where shops were shuttered in observance of a general strike called by anti-government groups in the run-up to Friday's third anniversary of the protests in the kingdom. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Bahraini protesters marking the third anniversary of protests clashed with security forces on Friday in the capital Manama and in outlying villages, witnesses said.

Hundreds of men and women took to the streets in parts of the capital and in Shiite villages that have been at the forefront of the campaign for a constitutional monarchy in the kingdom.

They were met with tear gas and birdshot, the witnesses said, adding that several demonstrators were wounded.

The clashes came ahead of an afternoon march called by an influential cyber-group on the capital’s Pearl Square, where demonstrators camped out for a month in early 2011 before being dispersed by Saudi-backed troops.

Bahrain announced in June that it had arrested leading members of the February 14 youth coalition, accusing it of links to Shiite Iran.

The Pearl Square roundabout and its central monument, which were a symbol of the protests, were later razed and the site remains heavily restricted.

“We will never surrender,” the crowd shouted as police helicopters hovered overhead, witnesses said.

The opposition called for three days of protests to mark the anniversary as it seeks to give new momentum to its campaign for an elected government.