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Bahrain locked down after 5 protesters killed

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By Associated Press

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Bahrain's leaders banned public gatherings and sent tanks into the streets Thursday, intensifying a crackdown that killed five anti-government protesters, wounded more than 200 and turned a hospital into a cauldron of anguish and rage against the monarchy.

Bahrain's streets were mostly empty after the bloody clampdown, but thousands defied authorities by marching in cities in Libya and Yemen as the wave of political unrest continued in the wake of uprisings that toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

The tiny kingdom of Bahrain is a key part of Washington's military counterbalance to Iran by hosting the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Bahrain's rulers and their Arab allies depict any sign of unrest among their Shiite populations as a move by neighboring Shiite-majority Iran to expand its clout in the region.

While part of the recent revolt in the Arab world, the underlying tensions in Bahrain are decades old and pit the majority Shiites against the Sunni elite.


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