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Sun 20 Feb 2011 01:24 PM

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UK revokes arms export licences to Bahrain after violence

Ban covers tear gas, ammunition and other riot-control items following fierce security crackdowns in the Gulf state

UK revokes arms export licences to Bahrain after violence
Britain said it would revoke more than 50 export licences to Bahrain and Libya

Britain has said it will revoke more than 50 arms export
licences for Bahrain and Libya following violent clashes between protesters and
security forces that left dozens dead.

The revoked licences cover items such as tear gas and
ammunition that have been used in military crackdowns in recent days in the Arab
states.

A day after announcing a review of arms export licences to
Bahrain, Britain's coalition government said it had "taken a decision to
revoke 24 individual licences and 20 open licences" for the Gulf state.

Individual licences authorise a single arms sale while open
licences cover multiple sales to a range of destinations.

The government also revoked eight individual licences for
Libya. A review of export licences to the wider region, including Yemen, was
continuing, it said.

Bahraini security forces fired on protesters on Friday,
wounding more than 60, as crackdowns on pro-democracy unrest buffeting the
Middle East and North Africa turned increasingly violent.

A day earlier, police killed four protesters and wounded
more than 230 in Bahrain's capital Manama.

In Libya, soldiers fought to suppress disturbances in the country's
second city Benghazi. US-based Human Rights Watch said Sunday that at least 84
protesters were killed there over three days in a fierce crackdown on protests.

"We are deeply concerned about the situation in Bahrain
and the events which have led to the deaths of several protesters,"
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said in a statement announcing the
decision to revoke arms export licences.

The Foreign Office said it had no evidence that British
equipment had been used in the unrest in Bahrain.

But the government would not issue licences when there was a
clear risk that the "proposed export might provoke or prolong regional or
internal conflicts, or ... might be used to facilitate internal
repression," it said.

Dave 8 years ago

What else would you use tear gas for other than for crowd control