* Weekly protests in Eastern Province for two months
* Rallies defied call by clerics to end protests
DUBAI, April 29 (Reuters) - More than 200 Shi'ite Muslims protested in Saudi Arabia's oil-producing east on Friday in solidarity with fellow believers in nearby Bahrain, who are facing a rolling crackdown, two activists said.
The gathering in the towns of Awwamiya and Qatif defied a call by leading Shi'ite clerics last week for an end to rallies in the conservative desert kingdom's Eastern Province, in an apparent bow to government pressure.
Shi'ite activists in the area have held weekly protests over the past two months without major clashes with police.
"There was a protest of over 200 people in Awwamiya, with the same demands as previous weeks. Police were present but far from the protesters," one activist in Awwamiya told Reuters by telephone.
The protests also called for the release of some Saudi detainees, he added. The march lasted for over one hour, another activist said.
The Sunni Muslim monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and a major U.S. ally, does not tolerate any form of public dissent.
Other than scattered Shi'ite protests, the kingdom has not seen the kind of mass uprisings that rocked other parts of the Arab world.
Saudi protesters have called for solidarity with Shi'ites in the nearby Gulf island kingdom of Bahrain, where a fierce crackdown has continued since anti-government rallies, led mostly by Shi'ites, were crushed there in March.
Bahrain's uprising unnerved Saudi Arabia which is connected to the Gulf island kingdom by a causeway. Saudi authorities sent in troops after Bahrain called on Gulf neighbours to support its crackdown.
Shi'ite politicians and human rights groups say hundreds of Bahrainis, mostly Shi'ite, have been detained by security forces and at least three have died in official custody.
Hundreds more have been sacked from their jobs, rights groups say. On Thursday, Bahrain sentenced four protesters to death, after they were convicted of killing two policemen during unrest last month. [ID:nLDE73S1D1] (Editing by Andrew Heavens)