MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Thousands of people have marched in the tiny Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, demanding more reforms in the country.

Among the protesters Friday was prominent opposition figure Khalil al-Marzooq, freed Thursday as he faces charges of encouraging violence. He has denied any support for bombings and other attacks, which have been on the rise.

Protesters chanted anti-government slogans Friday and some masked youths confronted police. An Associated Press journalist saw police fire tear gas at demonstrators.

Bahrain has been gripped by nonstop unrest after the kingdom's Shiite majority began an uprising in early 2011 calling for a greater political voice. Many protesters and other senior opposition figures have been jailed during crackdowns in the strategic island nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.