Bahrain under emergency rule as Iran slams Gulf force

Bahrain under emergency rule as Iran slams Gulf force

The financial district of Manama was deserted, shops and malls were shuttered and Sunni and Shiite vigilantes armed with metal pipes and clubs were in the streets after hundreds of troops rolled into Bahrain from Saudi Arabia.

State television interrupted normal programming to announce the state of emergency in the strategic Gulf state, which is home to the US Fifth Fleet and major international banks and finance institutions.

"Due to the ongoing circumstances in Bahrain ... King Hamad has announced a state of national emergency as of Tuesday for three months," it said.

Armoured troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had earlier rolled across the causeway from Saudi's Eastern Province to help Manama deal with pro-democracy protests which have shaken the kingdom for the past month.

Saudi Arabia's staunchly Sunni government said it had responded to a call for help from its neighbour under a mutual defence pact of the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
But Iran's foreign ministry described the intervention as unacceptable and said it would complicate the already volatile situation.

"Basically, we do not think it is right for forces of other countries, specially Persian Gulf countries, to be present or intervene in Bahrain's situation," ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in Tehran.

"The people of Bahrain have demands, which are legitimate and are being expressed peacefully. Any violence in response to these legitimate demands should be stopped."

More than 200 people were wounded in clashes between police and demonstrators in Manama on Sunday, the worst day of violence since seven people were killed at the start of the protests a month ago.