MANAMA, Bahrain -- Thousands of anti-government protesters in Bahrain clashed Friday with riot police firing tear gas during demonstrations against plans to limit political marches.

Street battles took place in several places around the strategic Gulf island kingdom, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Many protesters denounced plans by Bahrain to halt giving permits for opposition marches on roadways and other areas, saying they disrupt traffic and everyday life.

Bahraini officials, meanwhile, are studying other possible locations for political demonstrations.

The kingdom has been gripped by more than 17 months of clashes between the Sunni monarchy and protesters from the kingdom's Shiite majority, which claims it faces systematic discrimination.

At least 50 people have been killed in unrest in Bahrain since February 2011.

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