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Middle East

Bahraini opposition refuses talks until crackdown ends

media تظاهرات مخالفان در بحرین Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

The Bahraini opposition group Islamic National Accord Association says it is refusing to meet with authorities until the cabinet quits and troops stop attacks on protesters.  In Bahrain's capital, Manama, 95 people were wounded on Friday by troops, including three who are considered "clinically dead."

"What we're seeing now is not the language of dialogue but the language of force," Abdel Jallil Khalil Ibrahim, an MP and the group's opposition leader, said on Saturday.

Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa has now ordered troops to leave the streets of Manama.

Bahrain's ruling royal family said that talks would begin with the opposition once calm is restored to the Gulf country. Both King Hamad and  Prince Salman have spoken about national dialogue. The king formally delegated Prince Salman to handle future talks.

The EU and the US expressed concern after Bahraini security forces filed live annunition at peaceful protesters on Friday. Officials indicate five people died, while the opposition say six have died.

"I urge the Bahraini authorities to respect funtamental human rights including freedom of expression and the right to assemble freely," EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton said on Saturday.

On 11 February, Bahrainis who were inspired by protests in Tunisia and Egypt went out to Pearl Square in the capital to call for the reigning al-Khalifa family to step down.

Reports indicate that people have called for widespread strikes on Sunday.

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