Bahrain: Deaths during camp clearance must be investigated

Unconfirmed reports of security forces blocking ambulances and beating medics

Amnesty International has condemned the Bahraini authorities' forcible eviction of a peaceful protest camp in the centre of the capital Manama that reportedly left as many as six people dead.

Several people were killed by security forces using shotguns, rubber bullets, clubs and tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters who wanted to remain overnight at the city's Pearl Roundabout.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Director Malcolm Smart said:

“The Bahraini authorities have again reacted to legitimate protest by using deadly force and without warning. They must end their continuing crackdown on activists calling for reform.

“They must also carry out a full, impartial investigation into the force used this morning against peaceful protestors, including families with Children's rights, and whether the use of deadly force was justified.

"If not, those who gave the orders and used excessive force must be brought to justice.

“They must rein in their security forces and hold them accountable under the law.”

Amnesty has received unconfirmed reports that security forces were blocking ambulances from entering Pearl Roundabout to treat and transport the wounded. Paramedics from the nearby al-Salmaniya hospital were also reportedly beaten by police. There are fears that many activists have been arrested, after their families reported they were unable to find them in the hospitals.

Eyewitness told Amnesty that the security forces were indiscriminately attacking protesters as clashes continued throughout the night.

"The riot police are still attacking everyone - we fear that they will attack us at any moment. Six have been confirmed dead, killed by the riot police. Many are still wounded. Many are still out there and they are in need of desperate aid," a Bahraini human rights activist told Amnesty.

Two people were killed in Bahrain earlier this week following “Day of Rage” protests organised on Facebook and Twitter and apparently inspired by unrest in Egypt and Tunisia. Last week, Amnesty highlighted the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain in a new report: ' Crackdown in Bahrain: Human rights at the crossroads ' (pdf)

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