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An anti-government protester faces off against the Bahraini army during a clash with security forces near the Pearl roundabout on February 18, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain

An anti-government protester faces off against the Bahraini army during a clash with security forces near the Pearl roundabout on February 18, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain

John Moore

A family member cries out at a funeral of an anti-government protester on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain

A family member cries out at a funeral of an anti-government protester on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain

John Moore

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Friends and family members mourn during a funeral for slain anti-government protester Ali Ahmed al Muameen on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Friends and family members mourn during a funeral for slain anti-government protester Ali Ahmed al Muameen on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Women mourn during a funeral for slain anti-government protester Ali Ahmed al Muameen on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried on Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Women mourn during a funeral for slain anti-government protester Ali Ahmed al Muameen on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried on Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Friends and family members mourn during a funeral for slain anti-government protester Ali Ahmed al Muameen on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Friends and family members mourn during a funeral for slain anti-government protester Ali Ahmed al Muameen on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  People attend a funeral for slain anti-government protester Mahmood Makki on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried on Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: People attend a funeral for slain anti-government protester Mahmood Makki on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried on Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Family members mourn during a funeral for slain anti-government protester Ali Ahmed al Muameen on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Family members mourn during a funeral for slain anti-government protester Ali Ahmed al Muameen on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Friends and family members mourn during a funeral for slain anti-government protester Ali Ahmed al Muameen on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Friends and family members mourn during a funeral for slain anti-government protester Ali Ahmed al Muameen on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Protesters run from a cloud of teargas during a clash with Bahraini security forces near the Pearl roundabout on February 18, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Protesters said that the army fired on them with live rounds, followed by teargas which drove the demonstrators back. There are unconfirmed reports that there are four dead in the clashes.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  ***BESTPIX***

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Protesters run from a cloud of teargas during a clash with Bahraini security forces near the Pearl roundabout on February 18, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Protesters said that the army fired on them with live rounds, followed by teargas which drove the demonstrators back. There are unconfirmed reports that there are four dead in the clashes. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

John Moore

An unidentified Bahraini man reacts after he helped an anti-government protester who was injured during a demonstration in Manama, Bahrain, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. Soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air as thousands of protest marchers defied a government ban and streamed toward the landmark square that had been the symbolic center of the uprising against the Gulf nation's leaders. (AP Photo)

An unidentified Bahraini man reacts after he helped an anti-government protester who was injured during a demonstration in Manama, Bahrain, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. Soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air as thousands of protest marchers defied a government ban and streamed toward the landmark square that had been the symbolic center of the uprising against the Gulf nation's leaders. (AP Photo)

Bahraini worshippers react with tears and shouts against the regime during midday prayers Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, in the Shiite Muslim village of Diraz, Bahrain, as Sheik Isa Qassim, Bahrain's top Shiite cleric, called the government assault on protesters at Pearl Square early Thursday a "massacre".  (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Bahraini worshippers react with tears and shouts against the regime during midday prayers Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, in the Shiite Muslim village of Diraz, Bahrain, as Sheik Isa Qassim, Bahrain's top Shiite cleric, called the government assault on protesters at Pearl Square early Thursday a "massacre". (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Hasan Jamali

** GRAPHIC CONTENT ** An unidentified Bahraini anti-government protestor is carried to a vehicle to be taken to a hospital after being wounded during a demonstration in Manama, Bahrain, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. Soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air as thousands of protest marchers defied a government ban and streamed toward the landmark square that had been the symbolic center of the uprising against the Gulf nation's leaders.  (AP Photo)

** GRAPHIC CONTENT ** An unidentified Bahraini anti-government protestor is carried to a vehicle to be taken to a hospital after being wounded during a demonstration in Manama, Bahrain, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. Soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air as thousands of protest marchers defied a government ban and streamed toward the landmark square that had been the symbolic center of the uprising against the Gulf nation's leaders. (AP Photo)

An unidentified Bahraini with blood from the injured stands in front of army tanks near the Pearl roundabout Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, in Manama, Bahrain. Soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air as thousands of protest marchers defied a government ban Friday and streamed toward the landmark square that had been the symbolic center of the uprising against the Gulf nation's leaders. (AP Photo)

An unidentified Bahraini with blood from the injured stands in front of army tanks near the Pearl roundabout Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, in Manama, Bahrain. Soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air as thousands of protest marchers defied a government ban Friday and streamed toward the landmark square that had been the symbolic center of the uprising against the Gulf nation's leaders. (AP Photo)

An unidentified Bahraini anti-government protestor is carried to a vehicle to be taken to a hospital after being wounded during a demonstration in Manama, Bahrain, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. Soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air as thousands of protest marchers defied a government ban and streamed toward the landmark square that had been the symbolic center of the uprising against the Gulf nation's leaders. (AP Photo)

An unidentified Bahraini anti-government protestor is carried to a vehicle to be taken to a hospital after being wounded during a demonstration in Manama, Bahrain, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. Soldiers fired tear gas and shot heavy weapons into the air as thousands of protest marchers defied a government ban and streamed toward the landmark square that had been the symbolic center of the uprising against the Gulf nation's leaders. (AP Photo)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Mourners march during a funeral procession for a slain anti-government protester on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Mourners march during a funeral procession for a slain anti-government protester on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Pro-government demonstrators ride atop a car during a show of support for the monarchy on February 18, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Anti-government protesters were fired at with live ammunitions, with protesters saying it was followed by teargas, which drove the demonstrators back. There are unconfirmed reports that there are four dead in the clashes.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Pro-government demonstrators ride atop a car during a show of support for the monarchy on February 18, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Anti-government protesters were fired at with live ammunitions, with protesters saying it was followed by teargas, which drove the demonstrators back. There are unconfirmed reports that there are four dead in the clashes. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Pro-government demonstrators ride atop cars during a show of support for the monarchy on February 18, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Anti-government protesters were fired at with live ammunitions, with protesters saying it was followed by teargas, which drove the demonstrators back. There are unconfirmed reports that there are four dead in the clashes.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Pro-government demonstrators ride atop cars during a show of support for the monarchy on February 18, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Anti-government protesters were fired at with live ammunitions, with protesters saying it was followed by teargas, which drove the demonstrators back. There are unconfirmed reports that there are four dead in the clashes. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Mourners march during a funeral procession for a slain anti-government protester on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Mourners march during a funeral procession for a slain anti-government protester on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  Mourners embrace at a funeral for a slain anti-government protester on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Mourners embrace at a funeral for a slain anti-government protester on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18:  A woman mourns during a funeral procession for a slain anti-government protester on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SITRA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 18: A woman mourns during a funeral procession for a slain anti-government protester on February 18, 2011 in Sitra, Bahrain. Three slain protesters were buried Friday. Security forces opened up with live ammunition on demonstrators in fresh clashes in the early evening, resulting in unconfirmed reports of four dead and undetermined amount wounded. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

Anti-government demonstrators flee after being attacked by Bahraini riot police at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain.

Anti-government demonstrators flee after being attacked by Bahraini riot police at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain.

Hasan Jamali

Mourners pray during the funeral for Fadhel Salman al-Matrook on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, in Manama, Bahrain. Al-Matrook was killed Tuesday when police tried to stop a funeral march for another Bahraini killed in anti-government protests. Protesters demanding sweeping political reforms from Bahrain's rulers held their ground Wednesday in an Egypt-style occupation of the capital's landmark square, staging a third day of demonstrations that have brought unprecedented pressures in one of Washington's most strategic allies in the Gulf. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Mourners pray during the funeral for Fadhel Salman al-Matrook on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, in Manama, Bahrain. Al-Matrook was killed Tuesday when police tried to stop a funeral march for another Bahraini killed in anti-government protests. Protesters demanding sweeping political reforms from Bahrain's rulers held their ground Wednesday in an Egypt-style occupation of the capital's landmark square, staging a third day of demonstrations that have brought unprecedented pressures in one of Washington's most strategic allies in the Gulf. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Hasan Jamali

Mourners carry the body of Fadhel Salman al-Matrook to a Manama, Bahrain, cemetery Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. Al-Matrook was killed when police tried to stop a funeral march Tuesday for another anti-government demonstrator. Protesters demanding sweeping political reforms from Bahrain's rulers held their ground Wednesday in an Egypt-style occupation of the capital's landmark square, staging a third day of demonstrations that have brought unprecedented pressures in one of Washington's most strategic allies in the Gulf. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Mourners carry the body of Fadhel Salman al-Matrook to a Manama, Bahrain, cemetery Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. Al-Matrook was killed when police tried to stop a funeral march Tuesday for another anti-government demonstrator. Protesters demanding sweeping political reforms from Bahrain's rulers held their ground Wednesday in an Egypt-style occupation of the capital's landmark square, staging a third day of demonstrations that have brought unprecedented pressures in one of Washington's most strategic allies in the Gulf. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Hasan Jamali

Bahrani riot policemen are seen after attacking demonstrators camping at the Pearl roundabout in Manama.

Bahrani riot policemen are seen after attacking demonstrators camping at the Pearl roundabout in Manama.

Hassan Ammar

Bahraini anti-government demonstrators take an injured protester to a hospital in Manama, Bahrain

Bahraini anti-government demonstrators take an injured protester to a hospital in Manama, Bahrain

Hassan Ammar

Women weep outside the morgue after at least four people died and hundreds were left injured when police stormed an anti-government protester camp in the capital's Pearl Square on February 17, 2011

Women weep outside the morgue after at least four people died and hundreds were left injured when police stormed an anti-government protester camp in the capital's Pearl Square on February 17, 2011

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  The closed Seef shopping mall is lit up at dusk after police cracked down on an anti-government demonstrators encampment, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17: The closed Seef shopping mall is lit up at dusk after police cracked down on an anti-government demonstrators encampment, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  Women weep outside a hospital morgue after at least three people died and hundreds were left injured when police stormed an anti-government protester camp in the capital's Pearl Square on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17: Women weep outside a hospital morgue after at least three people died and hundreds were left injured when police stormed an anti-government protester camp in the capital's Pearl Square on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  A mother holds her injured son inside a hospital after at least three people died and hundreds were left injured when police stormed an anti-government protester camp in the capital's Pearl Square on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17: A mother holds her injured son inside a hospital after at least three people died and hundreds were left injured when police stormed an anti-government protester camp in the capital's Pearl Square on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  Anti-government protesters lie down to rest just hours before police cracked down on their encampment, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17: Anti-government protesters lie down to rest just hours before police cracked down on their encampment, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  Anti-government protesters attend an overnight demonstration just hours before police cracked down on their encampment, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17: Anti-government protesters attend an overnight demonstration just hours before police cracked down on their encampment, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  Part of Bahrain's skyline is seen at dusk after police cracked down on an anti-government demonstrators encampment nearby, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17: Part of Bahrain's skyline is seen at dusk after police cracked down on an anti-government demonstrators encampment nearby, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  Women weep outside a hospital morgue after at least three people died and hundreds were left injured when police stormed an anti-government protester camp in the capital's Pearl Square on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17: Women weep outside a hospital morgue after at least three people died and hundreds were left injured when police stormed an anti-government protester camp in the capital's Pearl Square on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  Anti-government protesters cheer along a highway just hours before police cracked down on their encampment, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17: Anti-government protesters cheer along a highway just hours before police cracked down on their encampment, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  Women weep outside a hospital morgue after at least three people died and hundreds were left injured when police stormed an anti-government protester camp in the capital's Pearl Square on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17: Women weep outside a hospital morgue after at least three people died and hundreds were left injured when police stormed an anti-government protester camp in the capital's Pearl Square on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  Anti-government protesters attend an overnight demonstration just hours before police cracked down on their encampment, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 17: Anti-government protesters attend an overnight demonstration just hours before police cracked down on their encampment, killing at least four demonstrators and wounding many more early on February 17, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Police moved into Pearl Square overnight using batons and tear gas to clear pro-democracy protesters from their makeshift camp, resulting in fatalities and a large number of casualties. Protests have erupted against the absolute monarchy in Bahrain as anti-government turmoil continues to spread across the Middle East. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

John Moore

In this image from video riot police firing tear gas and wielding clubs storm Pearl Square occupied by anti-government protesters before dawn Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 driving out demonstrators and destroying a makeshift encampment that had become the hub for demands to bring sweeping political changes to the kingdom. (AP Photo/Tony Mitchell, HO)

In this image from video riot police firing tear gas and wielding clubs storm Pearl Square occupied by anti-government protesters before dawn Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 driving out demonstrators and destroying a makeshift encampment that had become the hub for demands to bring sweeping political changes to the kingdom. (AP Photo/Tony Mitchell, HO)

Tony Mitchell

Bahraini anti-government demonstrators shout anti-goverment slogans after riot police attacked demonstrators in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011.  Some people appeared unbowed as armed patrols prowled neighborhoods and tanks appeared in the streets for the first time Thursday after riot police with tear gas and clubs drove protesters from a main square where they had demanded sweeping political change in this tiny kingdom. Medical officials said four people were killed. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Bahraini anti-government demonstrators shout anti-goverment slogans after riot police attacked demonstrators in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011. Some people appeared unbowed as armed patrols prowled neighborhoods and tanks appeared in the streets for the first time Thursday after riot police with tear gas and clubs drove protesters from a main square where they had demanded sweeping political change in this tiny kingdom. Medical officials said four people were killed. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Hassan Ammar

Anti-government demonstrators' damaged tents are seen at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011, after riot police attacked them. Riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets stormed a landmark square occupied by anti-government protesters Thursday, driving out demonstrators and destroying a makeshift encampment that had become the hub for demands to bring sweeping political changes to the kingdom. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Anti-government demonstrators' damaged tents are seen at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011, after riot police attacked them. Riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets stormed a landmark square occupied by anti-government protesters Thursday, driving out demonstrators and destroying a makeshift encampment that had become the hub for demands to bring sweeping political changes to the kingdom. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Hassan Ammar

A Bahraini anti-government demonstrator shows tear gas canisters fired by riot police attacking campers at the Pearl roundabout, in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011. Riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets stormed a landmark square occupied by anti-government protesters Thursday, driving out demonstrators and destroying a makeshift encampment that had become the hub for demands to bring sweeping political changes to the kingdom. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

A Bahraini anti-government demonstrator shows tear gas canisters fired by riot police attacking campers at the Pearl roundabout, in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011. Riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets stormed a landmark square occupied by anti-government protesters Thursday, driving out demonstrators and destroying a makeshift encampment that had become the hub for demands to bring sweeping political changes to the kingdom. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Hassan Ammar

Bahraini soldiers in tanks and armored vehicles stand ready Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, near a main highway west of the capital of Manama, Bahrain. Armed patrols prowled neighborhoods and tanks appeared in the streets for the first time Thursday after riot police with tear gas and clubs drove protesters from a main square where they had demanded sweeping political change in this tiny kingdom. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Bahraini soldiers in tanks and armored vehicles stand ready Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, near a main highway west of the capital of Manama, Bahrain. Armed patrols prowled neighborhoods and tanks appeared in the streets for the first time Thursday after riot police with tear gas and clubs drove protesters from a main square where they had demanded sweeping political change in this tiny kingdom. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Hasan Jamali

A Bahraini anti-government demonstrator works on her laptop in a tent camping out in protest at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

A Bahraini anti-government demonstrator works on her laptop in a tent camping out in protest at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, early Thursday morning, Feb. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Hassan Ammar

Bahraini soldiers in tanks and armoured vehicles stand ready  near a main road west of the capital Manama.

Bahraini soldiers in tanks and armoured vehicles stand ready near a main road west of the capital Manama.

Hasan Jamali

Bahraini anti-government demonstrators watch a soccer game between Barcelona and Arsenal on a TV projector while camping out in protest at the Pearl roundabout in Manama.

Bahraini anti-government demonstrators watch a soccer game between Barcelona and Arsenal on a TV projector while camping out in protest at the Pearl roundabout in Manama.

Hassan Ammar

Bahraini anti-government protesters prepare for a second night camping out at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, before the assault by riot police.

Bahraini anti-government protesters prepare for a second night camping out at the Pearl roundabout in Manama, before the assault by riot police.

Hasan Jamali

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An anti-government protester faces off against the Bahraini army during a clash with security forces near the Pearl roundabout on February 18, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain

Soldiers in Bahrain have opened fire on thousands of protesters defying a government ban and streaming toward the landmark square that had been the symbolic center of the uprising to break the political grip of the Gulf nation's leaders.

Officials at the main Salmaniya hospital said at least 50 people were injured, some with gunshot wounds. Some doctors and medics on emergency medical teams were in tears as they tended to the wounded. X-rays showed bullets still lodged inside victims.

"This is a war," said Dr. Bassem Deif, an orthopedic surgeon examining people with bullet-shattered bones.

Protesters described a chaotic scene of tear gas clouds, bullets coming from many directions and people slipping in pools of blood as they sought cover. Some claimed the gunfire came from either helicopters or sniper nests, a day after riot police swept through the protest encampment in Pearl Square, killing at least five people and razing the tents and makeshift shelters that were inspired by the demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

An Associated Press cameraman saw army units shooting anti-aircraft weapons, fitted on top of armored personnel carriers, above the protesters, in apparent warning shots and attempts to drive them back from security cordons about 200 yards (200 meters) from the square.

Then the soldiers turned firearms on the crowd, one marcher said.

"People started running in all directions and bullets were flying," said Ali al-Haji, a 27-year-old bank clerk. "I saw people getting shot in the legs, chest, and one man was bleeding from his head."

"My eyes were full of tear gas, there was shooting and there was a lot of panic," said Mohammed Abdullah, a 37-year-old businessman taking part in the protest.

The clash came hours after funeral mourners and worshippers at Friday prayers called for the toppling of the Western-allied monarchy in the tiny island nation that is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, the centerpiece of the Pentagon's efforts to confront Iranian military influence. Some members of Bahrain's Sunni ruling system worry that Shiite powerhouse Iran could use Bahrain's majority Shiites as a further foothold in the region.

The White House has expressed "strong displeasure" about the rising tensions in Bahrain.

Day by day, the crisis in Bahrain has deepened.

The cries against the king and his inner circle — at a main Shiite mosque and at burials for those killed in Thursday's crushing attack — reflect a sharp escalation of the political uprising, which began with calls to weaken the Sunni monarchy's power and address claims of discrimination against the Shiite majority.

The mood, however, has turned toward defiance of the entire ruling system after the brutal crackdown on a protest encampment in Bahrain's capital, Manama, which put the nation under emergency-style footing with military forces in key areas and checkpoints on main roads.

"The regime has broken something inside of me. ... All of these people gathered today have had something broken in them," said Ahmed Makki Abu Taki at the funeral for his 23-year-old brother, Mahmoud, who was killed in the pre-dawn sweep through Pearl Square. "We used to demand for the prime minister to step down, but now our demand is for the ruling family to get out."

At a Shiite mosque in the village of Diraz, an anti-government hotbed, imam Isa Qassim called the Pearl Square assault a "massacre" and thousands of worshippers chanted: "The regime must go."

In a sign of Bahrain's deep divisions, government loyalists filled Manama's Grand Mosque to hear words of support for the monarchy and take part in a post-sermon march protected by security forces. Many arrived with Bahraini flags draped over the traditional white robes worn by Gulf men. Portraits of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa were distributed.

"We must protect our country," said Adnan al-Qattan, the cleric leading prayers. "We are living in dangerous times."



He denounced attempts to "open the doors to evil and foreign influences" — an apparent reference to suspicions that Shiite powerhouse Iran could take advantages of any gains by Bahrain's Shiites, who account for about 70 percent of the population.



The pro-government gathering had many nonnative Bahrainis, including South Asians and Sunni Arabs from around the region. Shiite have long complained of policies giving Sunnis citizenship and jobs, including posts in security forces, to offset the Shiite majority.



Outside a Shiite village mosque, several thousand mourners gathered to bury three of the men killed in the crackdown. The first body, covered in black velvet, was passed hand to hand toward a grave as it was being dug.



Amid the Shiite funeral rites, many chanted for the removal of the king and the entire Sunni dynasty that has ruled for more than two centuries in Bahrain — the first nation in the Gulf to feel the pressure for changes sweeping the Arab world.



"Our demands were peaceful and simple at first. We wanted the prime minister to step down,' Mohamed Ali, a 40-year-old civil servant, said as he choked back tears. "Now the demands are harsher and have reached the pinnacle of the pyramid. We want the whole government to fall."



In Manama, soldiers placed roadblocks and barbed wire around Pearl Square and other potential gathering sites. Work crews tried to cover up protest graffiti.



In another funeral in the Shiite village of Karzkan, opposition leaders urged protesters to keep up their fight but not to seek revenge.



"We know they have weapons and they are trying to drag us into violence," said Sheik Ali Salman, the leader of the largest Shiite party, Al Wefaq, whose 18 lawmakers have resigned in protest from the 40-seat parliament.



On Thursday, Bahrain's leaders banned public gatherings. But the underlying tensions in Bahrain run even deeper than the rebellions for democracy that began two months ago in Tunisia and later swept away Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and are challenging old-guard regimes in Libya and Yemen.



Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa said the crackdown was necessary because the demonstrators were "polarizing the country" and pushing it to the "brink of the sectarian abyss."



Speaking to reporters after an emergency meeting with his Gulf counterparts in Manama, he called the violence "regrettable," said the deaths would be investigated and added that authorities chose to clear the square by force at 3 a.m. — when the fewest number of people would be in the square — "to minimize any possibility of casualties."



Many protesters were sleeping and said they received little warning of the assault. More than 230 people were injured, some seriously.



In Geneva, Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said the response of some governments in the Middle East and Africa to the demands of their people was "illegal and excessively heavy-handed," and she condemned the use of military-grade shotguns by security forces in Bahrain. The European Union and Human Rights Watch urged Bahrain to order security forces to stop attacks on peaceful protesters.



U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Washington must expand efforts for political and economic reforms in places such as Bahrain. "There is an urgency to this," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.



WikiLeaks, the secret-sharing website, has released new State Department cables detailing basic Bahraini foreign policy and concerns about regional powerhouse Iran. One intriguing cable consists of questions sent by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, asking the embassy to evaluate the leadership potential of the country's top princes.



The cable includes questions about relationships between the princes, their influence on government, views of the United States and whether any of them have histories of drug or alcohol use. There is no record of any answers.



The protesters had called for the monarchy to give up control over top government posts and all critical decisions and address deep grievances by Shiites, who claim they face systematic discrimination and poverty and are blocked from key roles in public service and the military.



Shiites have clashed with police before over their complaints, including in the 1990s. But the growing numbers of Sunnis joining the latest demonstrations surprised authorities, said Simon Henderson, a Gulf specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.



"The Sunnis seem to increasingly dislike what is a very paternalistic government," he said. "As far as the Gulf rulers are concerned, there's only one proper way with this and that is: be tough and be tough early."



The Bahrain violence forced the cancellation of a lower-tier open-wheel race in Bahrain for Friday and Saturday, and leaves in doubt the March 13 season-opening Formula One race at the same track.



Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone said he will decide next week whether to proceed with the race. On Friday, he said he hoped the unrest "all blows away" so the event can be run as scheduled.



"Let's wait and see because we don't know what the protests are really about. We've never — ever, ever — been involved in religion and politics and we don't make decisions based on those things," Ecclestone told the BBC. "Because people (were) killed, nobody's happy with that I'm sure. In these parts there have always been skirmishes, so let's hope it's no more than that."

Belfast Telegraph


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