(HN, March 13, 2011) - Protesters in Bahrain were fired upon today by riot police using tear gas and rubber bullets, according to reports coming out of the tiny Gulf nation.
The force was apparently used in an attempt to dislodge protesters from Manama's financial district.
A video posted on YouTube showed one protester being hit at close range by tear gas canisters. There were also reports of a major highway being blocked.
Al Jazeera reported that "hundreds of protesters" are heading to the Pearl Roundabout - Manama'sversion of Tahrir Square - to join the others. It is one of the most violent confrontations since the military killed seven protesters on February 1.
Meanwhile, Twitter postings from several sources suggest a now ongoing or imminent intervention by the powerful Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes neighbouring Saudi Arabia, as well as Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Last week the GCC approved a $20 billion economic aid package over 10 years for development projects in Bahrain and Oman, which has also seen protests.
These latest developments will be greeted with alarm in Washington - which recently gave into pressure from the Pentagon - as well as intense lobbying from Gulf states - to side with the ruling family and back a course of dialogue with the opposition, according to published reports.
The kingdom is home to the US Fifth Fleet.
- HUMNEWS staff, wires