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Second FCO flight to leave Bahrain

A second Government charter flight to help British citizens leave Bahrain is due to depart after the first landed with no passengers onboard.

Nobody requested a seat on the first flight which the Foreign Office (FCO) said left the stricken Gulf state at 2pm local time before touching down in nearby Dubai on Thursday.

The flight had been offered by the Government at a price of £260 per seat to help people wishing to leave the country who could not get places on commercial flights. But the expected rush for places did not materialise with the majority of people departing on commercial flights.

A second Government charter flight is due to leave Bahrain at midday local time.

The Foreign Office announced the additional flights on Wednesday after running battles were again fought on Bahraini streets.

Security forces had full control of parts of central Manama, a day after over-running a protesters' camp and clashing with Shiites elsewhere in the country. At least five people were killed - two policemen and three protesters - in the assault on the encampment in Pearl Square, according to opposition groups and the government.

Prime Minister David Cameron has called on the King of Bahrain to end the violent suppression of street protests.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "The UK remains seriously concerned about clashes with protesters and reports of several casualties. I call on all parties to engage in an open and constructive national dialogue, so that it is translated as soon as possible into tangible actions that respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Bahraini people."

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama urged the kings of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to show restraint in dealing with protesters. The imposition of martial rule followed the arrival of more than 1,000 troops, at the King's invitation, from neighbouring allies including Saudi Arabia.

It is not known how many Britons are still in the country, but the FCO estimates there are several thousand at any one time.


From Belfast Telegraph