Protesters calling for the overthrow of Bahrain ' s ruling monarchy clashed with police across several Shiite villages overnight, witnesses said Friday without reporting casualties.

" Down with Hamad, " hundreds chanted of King Hamad whose family has ruled the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom for decades.

The protesters hurled stones and petrol bombs at policemen who responded by firing buckshot, tear gas, and sound grenades, the sources said.

The protests were held in response to a call issued by the opposition February 14 Coalition youth group.

According to interior ministry, the Saudi backed security forces countered with demonstrators in the Shiite village of Bani Jamra and several members were arrested.

Interior ministry authorities also said the same clashes were also occurred in another Shiite town of Bilad Qadim.

Long - simmering tensions in Bahrain increased after opposition activists called for protests last Wednesday near the US embassy in Manama in defiance of a ban.

However, a massive deployment of troops has prevented the rally from going ahead, while witnesses have reported massive protests in Shiite villages, where demonstrations are a regular occurrence.

At least 80 people have been killed since Arab Spring - inspired protests erupted in Bahrain in early 2011, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.