Protests have been banned in Bahrain and the military has been ordered to tighten its grip after the violent removal of anti-government demonstrators. Police action was necessary to pull Bahrain back from the “brink of a sectarian abyss”, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said. Bahrain’s Shia Muslim majority has been ruled by a Sunni Muslim royal family since the 18th Century.
The announcement on state television said the army had taken control of “key parts” of the city. Tanks, army patrols and military checkpoints are out on key streets, with helicopters deployed overhead. Barbed wire has been erected on roads leading to the main protest area, Pearl Square, and the interior ministry has warned people to stay off the streets. Protesters and opposition politicians expressed outrage at the violence of the crackdown. A leader of the main minority Shia opposition, Abdul Jalil Khalil, said 18 MPs were resigning in protest.