By Joanne Bladd
Security forces to protect strategic facilities after violent clashes between police, demonstrators
Bahrain has asked neighbouring Gulf states to intervene after violent clashes broke out between police and protestors on Sunday.
An advisor to the royal court said forces had arrived in the island kingdom in a bid to restore order to the streets.
"Forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council have arrived in Bahrain to maintain order and security," Nabeel al-Hamer, a former information minister and adviser to the royal court, was quoted as saying on his Twitter feed by Reuters.
State-linked newspaper Gulf Daily News said security forces would be used to protect key facilities, after violent confrontations overwhelmed local police yesterday.
"GCC forces will arrive in Bahrain today to take part in maintaining law and order," the paper said.
"Their mission will be limited to protecting vital facilities, such as oil, electricity and water installations, and financial and banking facilities."
The news prompted the British Foreign Office to issue an alert warning against all travel to Bahrain, and urging British nationals in the Gulf kingdom to remain at home.
In a statement, it said there were fresh reports that Saudi soldiers were about to enter the country to intervene in the revolt.
“The risk of further outbreaks of violence has increased,” the statement said.
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, in one of the most violent confrontations since the military killed seven protesters on February 17.
Police fired tear gas and water cannons at the crowds who erected barricades across the highway after overwhelming riot police near Manama’s Pearl roundabout.
Bahrain, which is connected to Saudia Arabia via a sea causeway, has been gripped by its worst unrest since the 1990s after protesters took to the streets last month, inspired by uprisings that toppled the leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.
The kingdom has seen weeks of rallies by its disgruntled Shi'ite majority, which says it is discriminated against by the Sunni royal family.
The rioters should accept the crown price's call for dialogue.
He has already accepted their demands for an elected government, re-zoning the election constituency boundaries, and empowering the parliament.
The damage these rioters should understand the damage they are causing to their country, and the long term divisions they are creating along sectarian lines.
The move to let other GCC countries and their forces to intervene in Bahrain could mark the beginning of a confrontation of a different kind. Knowing that region fairly well, and the extent to which other affluent GCC nationals would (not) want to involve themselves in Bahrain, it is rather obvious that the intervening forces would be none other than Saudis. Would not be surprising if Iranian forces gets drawn into this war in the making. The rulers of Bahrain should sensibly find a method of transitioning power to the people, rather than letting their neighbours interfere in the internal unrest.
When is the press going to report on Irans involvement in this tragedy?
The king has already accepted these demand with 20,000 more jobs, elected govt. and empowering the assembly. These rioters have secret agenda. I do not think that Iran is directly funding but Iran must not intervene. It is GCC matter and must be confined to GCC state.
You call it a tragedy Nigel to ask for democracy, freedom and human rights??? what a shame!
Yes Ronnie they have a secret Agenda, I know it very well, being from Tahrir Square in Egypt, this agenda is about democracy, freedom and human rights for all suppressed people, an agenda that i hope GCC understands before it is too late.
I am not surprised that Ronnie got it right.
Anyone reading a little history and a little current news covering will get it right. Unless he decides to close his eyes, and mind.
As for Mourad, you need to educate yourself a little more.
And do not compare every country in the world to yours.
Go visit Bahrain, and see whose pictures are displayed in cars, taxis, shops and buses.
Even public buses that belong to the government!
Many of 'Bahrainis' display pictures of Iran leaders and current Iraq thugs 'leaders'.
If you do not know anything about this, you have to update your horizon.
This is not Egypt. Not at all, and not in any case.
If you like it now, you will not be happy after the euphoria is over.
You are 80 millions.
Any new ruler you will have, will be rejected by people, no matter what.
If only 1% or 2% of the population do not like the new ruler, and they take to the street, they will be more than 1.500.000, and they can paralyze the country, and they will start the same cycle again.
Any small percentage in your country, any category of people no matter how small can make most people suffer.
Nice point Nigel.
You got it right sooner and clearer than many people in the region, and in Bahrain itself.
Many demonstrators are peaceful, but the guys leading them, they have a different agenda.
This is not like Egypt.
Anyone comparing these two does not have enough knowledge about the region.
All GCC countries have nationals from Iranian origin, as well as Iranians living without documentations, plus Iranian expats.
The numbers are staggering, especially those without documentation. They come by the sea, and claim to have lived for a hundred year without any proof.