Army vows to restore security in Bahrain | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 17.02.2011
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Army vows to restore security in Bahrain

Security forces have launched a crackdown in Bahrain's capital, where protesters were calling for the prime minister to resign. The unrest comes during a wave of unprecedented demonstrations sweeping the Middle East.

Anti-government protests

Bahrain's army has threatened 'strict measures' to ensure security

Four people were reported killed in Bahrain's capital Manama early Thursday in a government crackdown on protesters. Around 300 others were wounded as security forces entered the city's Pearl Square and used tear gas and rubber bullets to remove the protesters who had camped out overnight.

Around 5,000 protesters were said to have gathered in the square on Thursday. Their actions may have had an effect as a foreign ministry official and a human rights activist resigned from their government posts in protest at the crackdown.

There were also reports that the largest Shiite opposition party intended to quit parliament in response to the violence. The majority of the population is Shiite, while the country is ruled by a Sunni Muslim family. The mainly Shiite protesters were demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa and wide-ranging political reforms, including a new constitution.

Army threatens 'strict measures'

An interior ministry spokesman, speaking on state television, warned demonstrators to stay away from central areas of the capital. "The security forces have stressed that they will take every strict measure and deterrent necessary to preserve security and general order," he said. Meanwhile, Arab foreign ministers from the Gulf states were to hold an emergency summit in Manama later on Thursday.

The EU called on the authorities to respect their citizens' rights to protest peacefully and urged restraint and calm.

In a telephone call with her Bahraini counterpart, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US was deeply concerned about the recent developments. Bahrain is a close ally in the region and home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet.

Author: Rob Mudge, Shant Shahrigian (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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