Bahraini police clashed with demonstrators holding a sit-in at the Gulf Arab state's airport on Sunday to protest against the arrest of a Shiite cleric as he returned from Iran, Al Jazeera television reported.
Police dispersed the protesters demanding the release of Sheikh Mohammed Sanad, who an Interior Ministry official said was detained hours earlier on security charges as he flew back home after a visit to Iran, the television reported.
The least wealthy of the Gulf oil producers, Bahrain has a history of political tension over unemployment and alleged human right abuses.
The pro-Western island state, headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, witnessed political unrest in the 1980s and the 1990s by its Shi'ite Muslim majority who were demanding more rights from the Sunni-led government.
Since coming to power in 1999, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has introduced some political reforms, including pardoning political prisoners and exiled activists.