According to the Guardian, after a day long clash between anti-government protestors and police, the Crown Prince of Bahrain is expected to invite Saudi Arabian security forces to enter the country and help put down the incipient revolt.
The Bahrain police fired into a crowd of protestors a month ago, killing 4, but the situation was defused when the police were withdrawn from the central roundabout in the capital city of Manama and the Crown Prince agreed to meet with protestors to discuss their demands. When those talks bogged down, the protests picked up in size and intensity until yesterday’s mayhem that saw police firing rubber bullets and tear gas trying to get the crowd to disperse.
The Guardian reports:
Thousands of demonstrators on Sunday cut off Bahrain’s financial centre and drove back police trying to eject them from the capital’s central roundabout, while protesters also clashed with government supporters on the campus of the main university.
Amid the revolt Bahrain also faces a potential sectarian conflict between the ruling minority of Sunnis Muslims and a majority of Shia Muslims, around 70% of the kingdom’s 525,000 residents.
The crown prince, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, said in a televised statement that Bahrain had “witnessed tragic events” during a month of unprecedented political unrest.
Warning that “the right to security and safety is above all else”, he added: “Any legitimate claims must not be made at the expanse of security and stability.”
The crown prince has also promised that national dialogue would look at increasing the power of Bahrain’s parliament, and that any deal could be put to nationwide referendum.
The invitation from the Crown Prince for Saudi intervention is part of a request for support from other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.