Tense Calm as Saudi Troops Enter Bahrain to Quell Protesters
A tense calm is reported in Bahrain as pro-democracy protesters poured into Bahrain’s central business district Monday while Saudi official said that 100 Saudi forces have entered Bahrain to reinforce the country’s embattled monarchy.
Bahrain’s opposition said Monday it considered any foreign military intervention to be an occupation, shortly after a Saudi official said the kingdom’s troops had entered the Gulf state. “We consider the arrival of any soldier, or military vehicle, into Bahraini territory…. an overt occupation of the kingdom of Bahrain and a conspiracy against the unarmed people of Bahrain,” said an opposition statement.
The Financial Harbour business complex was blocked off by protesters a day after more than 200 people were injured there in clashes between riot police and demonstrators, residents said. It was the worst day of violence in the tiny Gulf kingdom since seven people were martyred at the start of anti-regime unrest in mid-February.
More than 1,000 Saudi troops, part of the Gulf countries’ Peninsula Shield Force, have entered Bahrain, a Saudi official said Monday.
Demanding King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s ouster and constitutional reforms, the demonstrators have been peacefully camping in the Pearl Roundabout since February 14. The thousands of protesters camped in the square, which has become known to many as “the Martyrs Roundabout,” in memory of those that died during Manama-ordered suppression of the popular uprising, saying they will not leave until the king steps down and the government implements political and economic reforms.