US relocates Bahrain embassy staff from protest areas

Renewed safety fears for employees amid increasingly violent anti-government protests
US relocates Bahrain embassy staff from protest areas
Flashback to the Bahrain protests in March last year
By Elizabeth Broomhall
Tue 24 Jan 2012 02:58 PM

US embassy staff in Bahrain are to be relocated to new
neighbourhoods in Manama this week amid renewed fears for their safety as
anti-government protests continue.

Rallies along the Budaiya Highway corridor have “led to
traffic disruptions, effectively restricting travel for those living in the
area,” according to a statement, posted on the US Embassy website. “The
resulting inability to leave one’s home for an extended period poses
significant safety and security concerns.”

Demonstrations have included trash can fires, roadblocks and
the creation of unofficial checkpoints by protesters, the statement said.

“Participants have thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails and
used various other homemade weapons.” 

The US State Department said it had found no evidence of
Westerners being directly targeted, but had noticed "isolated examples of
anti-US sentiment" and the burning of US flags.

Tensions in the island nation persist almost a year after
the start of demonstrations by mostly Shiite protesters demanding a more
representative government and greater rights from the country’s Sunni Muslim
rulers. At least 35 people died during the February-March rallies and the
subsequent government crackdown.

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