UN chief urges end to violence in Bahrain

Ban Ki-moon said there are common threads in demonstrations across Mideast.

Updated: Feb 18, 2011, 11:37 AM IST

New York: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called on the leaders of Bahrain not to use violence against civilians and journalists.

"The reports from Bahrain overnight are deeply troubling," he told reporters, adding that he was disturbed by the violent methods being used to disperse demonstrators.

“Violence should not be used against peaceful demonstrators and against journalists,” he said. “It must stop, and those responsible must be brought to justice.”

Ban said that while the situation in individual countries across the Middle East and North Africa is unique, there are common threads visible in the demonstrations.

“Across the region, people are standing up to voice their legitimate aspirations,” Ban said. “Civil society and young people have led the way.”

Earlier, troops in armoured vehicles took control of Manama after police attacked anti-government protesters, killing three people and wounding 231 in Bahrain`s worst violence in decades.

After riot police had cleared protesters from Pearl square before dawn, soldiers in at least 40 trucks and armoured vehicles took control of the road junction demonstrators had tried to turn into a protest base like Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

The crackdown by the Bahraini authorities appeared designed to snuff out the protests before they could gather momentum, unlike the sustained unrest that unseated Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

The main Shi`ite bloc Wefaq, which holds 17 of Parliament’s 40 seats, planned to quit the assembly in protest. “We feel there was a decision to hurt people,” MP Ibrahim Mattar said.

Bureau Report