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Saudi Arabian troops prepare to back Bahrain's crown prince

Irish citizens in Bahrain urged to remain indoors over coming days as “spontaneous demonstrations and violence” expected.

An anti-government protester clears the way for an ambulance during demonstrations in Manama yesterday.
An anti-government protester clears the way for an ambulance during demonstrations in Manama yesterday.
Image: AP Photo/Hasan Jamali

CLASHES BETWEEN POLICE and anti-government protesters intensified in Bahrain over the weekend and Saudi Arabian forces are now expected to intervene on behalf of Bahrain’s ruling royal family.

Security forces used rubber bullets and tear gas when tackling protests yesterday in Bahrain’s capital Manama, where the BBC reported violent clashes breaking out in three areas of the city.

Today, a Bahraini parliamentary group appealed to King Hamad bin Kisa Al Khalifa to impose martial law after weeks of unrest have left the Gulf nation sharply divided between ruling minority Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims, who make up about 70% of the country’s population.

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa is expected to formally invite Saudi troops into Bahrain today, according to the Guardian.

In a televised address yesterday, the crown prince said Bahrain had “witnessed tragic events” throughout the political unrest and suggested authorities may impose harsher measures to quell the protests:

Any legitimate claims must not be made at the expense of security and stability.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is advising Irish citizens against all non-essential travel to Bahrain, as are the British and US governments. Any Irish citizens currently in Bahrain are urged to contact the Irish Embassy in Riyadh, and to remain indoors as further demonstrations are likely in the coming days.

The US has issued a notice warning that “spontaneous demonstrations and violence are expected throughout the next several days”, but noted that there has been no indication that westerners “are being threatened or targeted”.

- Includes reporting from the AP

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