Bahrain forces block roads to former protest hub

AP News
Posted: Aug 11, 2011 4:08 PM
Bahrain forces block roads to former protest hub

Witnesses say security forces in Bahrain's capital are blocking roads around a former protest hub after clashes with anti-government demonstrators in the Gulf island kingdom.

Witnesses say tanks and police vehicles surrounded Pearl Square, which had been the centerpiece for Shiite-led protests calling for greater rights from Sunni rulers in the strategic nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. The witnesses spoke on a condition of anonymity because they fear reprisals.

The blockades Thursday came after protesters in a Manama neighborhood called for a march back to Pearl Square, which was stormed by security forces several weeks after pro-reform demonstrations began in February.

Major protests have been crushed, but small-scale clashes have occurred nearly nightly for weeks.