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Middle East

Opposition figures arrested after Bahrain crackdown

media Burning tents are seen in Pearl Square after security forces evacuated … Reuters

Six prominent opposition activists have been arrested in Bahrain, a day after a government crackdown on anti-regime protesters in the capital Manama. Among those detained was Hassan Mashaima, a leader of the Haq group which is seeking to overthrow the Sunni monarchy that has ruled the Gulf country for 230 years.

Mashaima had only returned to Bahrain on 26 February after terrorism charges against him were dropped as part of an earlier peace offering from the government to the opposition.

Human rights activist and Haq member Abduljalil al-Singace, who was released in February after six months in jail, was also detained, the opposition said. The government has yet to confirm the arrests.

On Wednesday, security forces fired tear gas and shotguns to clear protests at Manama’s Pearl Square, in the worst day of violence since demonstrations began last month.

The opposition said three demonstrators were killed, while the government said two police officers also died.

United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said that Bahrain's rulers, and those of neighbouring countries who sent troops to help quash the protests, were "on the wrong track".

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron urged Bahrain’s King Hamad to pursue "reform, not repression."

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