March 17, 2011
Thousands of soldiers and police, backed by tanks and helicopters, advanced behind clouds of tear gas to crush pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain yesterday.
The assault, which came immediately after the arrival of 1,000 Saudi troops in the island kingdom, drove demonstrators swiftly from their camp at Pearl Square, the symbolic heart of the protest. Three protesters and three policemen died. Clouds of black smoke rose over the centre of the capital Manama, as the Sunni al-Khalifa monarchy made a risky bid to continue its 200-year-long rule over the majority Shia population. The white tents of protesters were set on fire and there was the sound of what appeared to be live rounds being fired, as well as rubber bullets and tear gas grenades. Two policemen were reported to have been killed by people fleeing the square in their cars.