Four killed in Bahrain protest

March 16th, 2011 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Manama, March 16 (IANS) 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.

Police arrived early morning Wednesday with tanks and tried to expel demonstrators, mainly Shia Muslims, who have camped out in Manama’s Pearl Square for a month to press for political reforms.

State-run BNA news agency said that all rioters have withdrawn from the square without any direct clashes with the police force.

Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa Tuesday declared the state of emergency for three months to deal with the unrest which swept the country soon after a wave of protests toppled long-term regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, triggering similar uprisings in several countries of north Africa and Middle East.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) troops, most of them from Saudi Arabia, arrived in Bahrain Monday to help authorities maintain order and protect strategic facilities, including oil resources.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, is ruled by the Sunni Muslim royal family, while the majority Shia population say they face discrimination in jobs and other services.

King Hamad has been in power since 2002 when the country was turned into a constitutional monarchy, paving the way for an elected parliament. But the king has been the supreme authority of Bahrain since 1971.

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