Saudi Arabian forces prepare to enter Bahrain after day of clashes

March 14, 2011

Saudi forces are preparing to intervene in neighbouring Bahrain, after a day of clashes between police and protesters who mounted the most serious challenge to the island’s royal family since demonstrations began a month ago. The Crown Prince of Bahrain is expected to formally invite security forces from Saudi Arabia into his country today, as part of a request for support from other members of the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council. Thousands of demonstrators on Sunday cut off Bahrain’s financial centre and drove back police trying to eject them from the capital’s central square, while protesters also clashed with government supporters on the campus of the main university. Amid the revolt Bahrain also faces a potential sectarian conflict between the ruling minority of Sunnis Muslims and a majority of Shia Muslims, around 70% of the kingdom’s 525,000 residents. The crown prince, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, said in a televised statement that Bahrain had “witnessed tragic events” during a month of unprecedented political unrest. Warning that “the right to security and safety is above all else”, he added: “Any legitimate claims must not be made at the expanse of security and stability.”

>>> continued on Bahrain page <<<

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