Milkshake promoter denies reports of Kim Kardashian protest in Bahrain
Kim Kardashian's weekend visit to promote milkshakes in Bahrain drew a large crowd of excited fans, but the promoter who brought the Hollywood reality star to the island Gulf state denied a report of protesters being tear-gassed by police.
Kardashian, 32, stopped in Bahrain Saturday as part of a Middle Eastern promotional tour for Millions of Milkshakes, a franchise created and owned by businessman Sheeraz Hasan.
"WHAT PROTESTS?? Kim Kardashian loved by the people of Bahrain & wants to return!!" Hasan said in a Twitter posting Sunday.
CNN has been unable to independently confirm the reports, all of which are ultimately attributed to an unidentified "local newspaper," that police used tear-gas grenades to disperse 100 Sunni Muslim protesters with anti-Kardashian signs before her arrival at a high-end shopping complex in Riffa, Bahrain.
Kardashian, whose reps did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment Sunday, did tweet about her visit Saturday, not addressing the protest report: "Thanks @sheerazhasan and Paresh A Shah for an amazing trip to The Kingdom of Bahrain and Kuwait. We did it!!!"
Kardashian, who initially gained notoriety when a sex tape with singer Ray J. Norwood leaked in 2007, told fans gathered in the mall. "It's so beautiful here, the people are so amazing."
Sunnis are two-thirds of Bahrain's population, but it is ruled by a Shiite royal family.
The split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims -- the two major denominations of the Islamic faith -- goes back to a 7th century feud.
Differences between the two groups have developed over the centuries, but the major schism took place in 632 A.D. after the death of the Prophet Mohammed. Shiite Muslims believed Mohammed's cousin should have been his successor while Sunnis believed there was no rightful successor and one should be elected.
Sunni groups have conducted public protests demanding greater economic opportunities, including jobs, housing and political rights.
"Protests stem from a population who feel they are being treated as second-class citizens, not because they have different interpretations of the Quran," Jane Kinninmont, senior research fellow at British think-tank Chatham House, said in a CNN interview last year.
Journalist Susannah Palk contributed to this report.