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
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
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
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
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
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.