6 Dead as Tanks Attack Bahrain Protesters

Forces clear Manama square in major tank assault
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2011 1:19 AM CDT
Updated Mar 16, 2011 6:00 AM CDT
Bahrain Declares Martial Law
Anti-government protesters gesture in front of the Saudi embassy in Manama, Bahrain, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Bahrain's king has declared martial law in the island nation following the arrival of more than 1,000 troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations to quell an opposition movement. At least three people were killed in clashes between troops and pro-reform protesters yesterday, Reuters reports. Today tanks and riot police launched an all-out assault on protesters who have been camped out in the capital's Pearl Square for weeks, firing tear gas and rubber bullets. The Washington Post reports that state TV showed black smoke and leveled tents; many protesters have apparently been cleared out. The AP reports that at least six people were killed.

Shias, who make up a majority of Bahrain's population, have been calling for political reform from the country's Sunni rulers. The country's Sunni minority has been alarmed by calls to overthrow the monarchy, and fears the unrest will benefit Iran. The US, expressing concern about growing sectarianism in Bahrain, has dispatched a top diplomat to the country. (More Bahrain stories.)

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