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Five killed in Bahrain protest, military imposes curfew

Thursday March 17, 2011 08:42:52 AM, DPA

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Four killed in Bahrain protest

At least four people, including two policemen, were killed in clashes as riot police in Bahrain tried to disperse pro-democracy protesters gathered at a roundabout in this capital city Wednesday, Xinhua reported quoting Al-Arabia TV.  »

GCC troops arrive in Bahrain to maintain order

Manama/Cairo: The death toll from clashes between anti-government protesters and Bahraini security forces rose to five Wednesday, as the military imposed a curfew and warned people not to gather in public places.

In a televised statement, the Bahraini military said security forces had "cleansed" several areas in the capital city of Manama, with the help of Gulf Cooperation Council troops.

At least three protesters were killed when police, backed by army tanks and helicopters, violently dispersed protesters in Manama's Lulu Square, Bahraini newspaper Al-Wasat reported.

The interior ministry said two members of the security forces were killed in clashes with protesters at civilian-run checkpoints.

Two other members of the security forces were killed Tuesday, the ministry said.

The military congratulated citizens on a "return to normalcy" in the country, and urged people not to gather in public spaces "for their own safety".

Four members of the Shura council, Bahrain's upper house of parliament, resigned in protest at the violence, Al-Wasat reported.

Security forces also stormed the Salmaniya Medical Complex in Manama, which has received hundreds of injured protesters over the past two days.

The Bahraini military said that "outlaws" had been gathering at the hospital.

Hospital staff and protesters had formed a human shield around the complex since Tuesday, fearing an attack by security forces.

Police forces reportedly prevented ambulances from reaching injured protesters Tuesday and Wednesday.

A 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew was announced on state television for areas of Manama where protests have been held. Mobile phone networks in the country were severely disrupted, journalists and activists said.

The events come one day after King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa declared a state of emergency, authorizing defence forces to use all means necessary to restore order.

In Iraq, popular Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for people to demonstrate in Baghdad and Basra and in solidarity with the uprising in Bahrain.

Bahrain has a Shia majority population but is ruled by a Sunni minority.

The GCC, of which Bahrain is a member, dispatched troops to the small kingdom earlier this week at the government's request. The deployment included around 1,000 Saudi troops.

Concerns have grown amongst Bahrain's Sunni-led neighbours, particularly Saudi Arabia, that Shia-ruled Iran might be meddling in the country's affairs.

For over a month, protesters in Bahrain have been demanding political reforms and greater freedoms. Government crackdowns on protesters have left at least 12 people dead since Feb 14.






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