Bahrain Cracks Down, More Unrest

Bahrain has cracked down on growing unrest, arresting six opposition leaders. Six people have died in the violence.

Chana Ya'ar , | updated: 5:26 PM

Police Kill Bahraini protester
Police Kill Bahraini protester
Israel news photo: YouTube screenshot

Bahrainhas cracked down on the grown protests by Shi'ite Muslims, who comprise 60% of the population. After weeks of the monarchy taking a relatively moderate stance, opposition forces nevertheless continued protests, in a region still roiling with similar situations in nearby nations.

Government forces arrested at least six opposition leaders on Thursday. Among those detained were Haq party leader Hassan Mushaima and Wafa party leader Abdel Wahhab Hussein, who led calls for the overthrow of the royal family. So said a source in the more moderate Wefaq, the largest opposition party, to Reuters.

Wefaq, which demanded wide-ranging political and constitutional reforms, appeared to have escaped the wave of arrests. The secular leftist party Wa'ad, which made the same demands, was not as lucky: party head Ibrahim Sharif was also arrested.

Security personnel were using tanks and helicopters to clear protesters away from a makeshift campground set up in the streets of the nation's capital, Manama. Troops poured into the country from likewise Sunni-ruled neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as insurance the unrest would not spread to their areas. Most countries in the region fear the spread of Shi'ite Iran's influence and wrath.

The military on Wednesday banned all protests and imposed a curfew from 4:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. in most of the capital. 

Three protesters and three police officers have died since the unrest began. Protesters are demanding the country move from a government appointed by the monarchy to an elected parliament and cabinet.

Western nations are urging their citizens to evacuate the country, and a spokesman for the British embassy told Reuters that the UK had organized charter flights to Dubai for those who had no other place to go.

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