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Saudi troops cross into Bahrain

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Al-Jazeera reports:

Hundreds of Saudi troops have entered Bahrain to help protect government facilities there amid escalating protests against the government.

Bahrain television on Monday broadcast images of troops in armoured cars entering the Gulf state via the 26km causeway that connects the kingdom to Saudi Arabia.

The arrival of the troops follows a request to members of the Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) from Bahrain, whose Sunni rulers have faced weeks of protests and growing pressure from a majority Shia population to institute political reforms.

The United Arab Emirates has also sent about 500 police to Bahrain, according to Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the Emirati foreign minister.

The United States, which counts both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia among its allies, has called for restraint, but has refrained from saying whether it supports the move to deploy troops.

“We urge our GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) partners to show restraint and respect the rights of the people of Bahrain, and to act in a way that supports dialogue instead of undermining it,” Tommy Vietor, the White House spokesman, said.

Iran, meanwhile, has warned against “foreign interferences”.

“The peaceful demonstrations in Bahrain are among the domestic issues of this country, and creating an atmosphere of fear and using other countries’ military forces to oppress these demands is not the solution,” Hossein Amir Abdollahian, an official from the Iranian foriegn ministry, was reported by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency as saying.

Abdel al-Mowada, the deputy chairman of Bahrain’s parliament, told Al Jazeera that it was not clear how the Saudi force would be deployed but denied the troops would become a provocation to protesters.

“It is not a lack of security forces in Bahrain, it is a showing of solidarity among the GCC,” he told Al Jazeera.

“I don’t know if they are going to be in the streets or save certain areas … [but protesters] blocking the roads are no good for anyone, we should talk.

“The government is willing to get together and make the changes needed, but when the situation is like this, you cannot talk.”

The Saudi troops arrived less than 24 hours after Bahraini police clashed with demonstrators in one of the most violent confrontations since troops killed seven protesters last month.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

March 15, 2011 at 2:46 am

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