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Bahrain authorities detain six opposition leaders

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14 February Media Committee/AP

(Read caption) Smoke and flames appear after clashes between protesters and security forces in Pearl Square, Manama on Wednesday March 16. Soldiers and riot police used tear gas and armored vehicles to drive out hundreds of anti-government protesters occupying a landmark square in Bahrain's capital, a day after emergency rule was imposed in the violence-wracked Gulf kingdom.

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Bahrain authorities, bolstered by Saudi troops and a state of emergency, appear to be abandoning efforts to dialogue with protesters in favor of suppressing the demonstrations that began in earnest a month ago.

Security forces today detained at least six opposition leaders a day after a major crackdown that resulted in deadly clashes and expelled hundreds of protesters from Pearl Roundabout, the symbolic center of the protests. Those arrested include Hassan Mushaima and Abdul Jalil al-Sangaece, who were among 25 Shiites put on trial last year for plotting against the country's Sunni rulers.

The government recently dropped the case against the two opposition activists in a bid to calm unrest in the small Gulf nation after protests erupted last month. The AP said that Thursday’s arrests suggest that the government, which had previously offered to enter talks with the protest movement, is now concentrating its efforts on suppressing protests.

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