News / Middle East

Security Forces Reclaim Main Protest Site in Bahrain

Black smoke billows from burning tents in Pearl Square in Bahraini capital Manama on March 16, 2011
Black smoke billows from burning tents in Pearl Square in Bahraini capital Manama on March 16, 2011

Security forces in Bahrain have retaken control of a main demonstration site in the capital Manama where anti-government protesters had been camping for weeks.

Soldiers and riot police used armored vehicles and tear gas to disperse crowds at Pearl Square on Wednesday and witnesses say  the site was cleared in about two hours.  At least two people were reportedly killed in the latest clashes adding to two other deaths confirmed on Tuesday.  Hospital workers say hundreds of other people have been wounded in fighting around the country some by gunfire.

The crackdown came one day after the Persian Gulf Kingdom declared a three-month state of emergency.

Troops from neighboring Saudi Arabia were deployed to Bahrain on Monday to help reinforce local authorities, however, it is unclear whether they were involved in the operations at Pearl Square.

Other Gulf Arab states have promised military support.

Protesters from Bahrain's majority Shi'ite population have been demanding political reforms and say they are treated like second-class citizens by the minority Sunni government.

The ruling al-Khalifa family has offered to hold a dialogue with opposition groups. But some protesters are demanding more power for parliament and that the royal family be ousted.

An increasing number of sectarian clashes have been reported in Bahrain since demonstrations began over a month ago.

Director of the Brookings Doha Center, Salman Shaikh, believes the unrest could spill over into neighboring countries, especially Saudi Arabia, which has a ruling Sunni family, but a majority Shi’ite population in its eastern provinces.

"If the situation in Bahrain escalates, I would guess that we would get these provinces to further rise [in protest], some are even speculating that we could have an arch of fire stretching and spreading from Bahrain to the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia," he said.

Iran, the region’s predominantly Shi’ite power, has criticized the deployment of foreign troops to Bahrain. Middle East analyst at IHS Global Insight Gala Riani believes the country could play a larger role in the Arab conflict in the future.

"If sectarian unrest continues and is ignited in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and continues for a longer period of time it is possible that some more hard-liner groups would somehow seek some degree of clandestine support from Iran," said Riani. "Iran has shown that elsewhere in the Middle East it has supported groups with weaponry or training or other types of assistance.

The U.S. State Department is warning Americans against travel to Bahrain and advising citizens in the Gulf state to consider leaving.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid