UNREST IN MIDDLE EAST
Bahrain protesters back in square as troops pull back
Manama, Feb 19: Thousands of jubilant Bahrainis returned today to Manama’s Pearl Square, the focal point of bloody anti-regime demonstrations, after police and troops withdrew in what appeared to be a conciliatory move.
After the security forces had pulled out, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa ordered that they were to stay away from demonstrators.
Salman, who is deputy commander of armed forces, ordered “all security forces to immediately withdraw from assembly areas,” a statement carried by BNA state agency said.
It added that he had also asked the “crowds to leave” to start a “new phase of national action that would bring together all parties.”
Protesters began erecting tents in the square after removing barbed wire and pouring in from three streets.
Police, who had earlier fired tear gas in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent people from getting in from one of the streets, eventually followed the army’s lead and withdrew as well.
“People want the regime to fall,” chanted demonstrators gathered at the roundabout, saying they wanted “peaceful” protests.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Feb 2011 00:00:00 IST
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