Bahrain Declares Martial Law as Tensions Rise

Military Pledges Crackdown on 'Lawbreakers'

Fresh off the deployment of troops from neighboring Saudi Arabia, Bahrain’s king Tuesday announced that he was imposing a state of martial law on the island nation, which is facing massive protests demanding his ouster.

King Hamed’s announcement was immediately followed up by a statement by the Bahraini military announcing that they intend to “crack down on lawbreakers,” suggesting that another violent move against the protesters is likely in the offing.

The protests continued today, however, with upward of 10,000 Bahrainis in the streets of Manama converging on the Saudi Embassy to condemn what they called an “occupation” of their nation.

So far, the Saudi troops’ presence has been relatively low key, apart from a few reports of clashes between the troops and the protesters. The Saudi government clearly sees the protests by the island’s Shi’ite majority as a threat to spark unrest among their own Shi’ite minority, which is centered around the Saudi oil-producing regions.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.