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Teen, police officer die as crowds protest in Bahrain on 2nd anniversary of uprising

From Schams Elwazer, CNN
updated 7:24 AM EST, Fri February 15, 2013
Protestors run for cover from tear gas following an anti-government rally to demand political reforms on February 12, 2013.
Protestors run for cover from tear gas following an anti-government rally to demand political reforms on February 12, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Authorities are investigating the death and say they do not know the cause
  • An opposition group says Bahrain security forces killed the teen
  • Thursday marks the second anniversary of major unrest in Bahrain

(CNN) -- A teen and a police officer died in Bahrain clashes as protesters hit the streets Thursday on the two-year anniversary of a failed uprising in the nation, authorities said.

Authorities are investigating the Thursday morning death of a 16-year-old and trying to determine how it occurred, according to a government statement.

Read more: Bahrain strips Shiite activists of citizenship amid unrest

"We encourage people to remain calm and not spread unfounded rumors until more information becomes known," the statement said. "We reiterate the call ... upon parents to supervise the whereabouts of their children at all times in order to ensure their safety. We urge parents to keep their children at school and go about their daily routine."

2012: Revolution deferred in Bahrain
2012: Boy, 11, acquitted over protest

Al-Wefaq, Bahrain's main Shiite opposition party, said the teen was killed when he was hit by bird pellets shot by Bahraini security forces.

Police officer Mohammed Asif died late Thursday after he was hit by a "projectile" thrown by a group of protesters, according to Bahrain's interior ministry.

Major-General Tariq Hassan, chief of public security, said an investigation has been launched to find those responsible.

Protesters demonstrated in several villages around Manama, the nation's capital Thursday.

Two years ago, on February 14, protests began with many demanding political reforms and greater freedoms in the Sunni-ruled, Shiite majority nation.

Bahraini wins human rights seat amid protests, teen's death

The unrest was spurred by movements in Tunisia and Egypt. But demonstrations in Bahrain failed to gain the traction of other Arab Spring uprisings after a crackdown by authorities in the island state. The crackdown was backed by troops from nearby Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In November of that year, Bahrain's Independent Commission of Inquiry issued a report critical of authorities' reactions to the protests.

The independent commission, set up by the king, concluded that the police had used excessive force and torture in their response to the protests in Sunni-ruled, Shiite-majority country.

Abuse of detainees in the crackdown included beatings with metal pipes and batons, and threats of rape and electrocution, according to Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, the commission chairman.

The report recommended reforms to the country's law and better training of its security forces, as well as other measures.

CNN's Saad Abedine and Mohammed Jamjoom contributed to this report.

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