Bahrain Arrests Opposition Activists Authorities detained at least six prominent opposition activists Thursday as the crackdown on dissents widened under a martial law-style rule in the tiny Gulf nation of Bahrain.

Bahrain Arrests Opposition Activists

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From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.


NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from Bahrain's capital, Manama.

FRANK LANGFITT: Hassan Mushaima runs Haq, a hard-line, anti-government party. Today, he's in police custody; so is Ibrahim Shariff, who leads Waad, a leftist party pushing for democratic change.

MATAR MATAR: The future is dark.

LANGFITT: Matar Matar is a former member of parliament, with Wefaq, the biggest party challenging the government. He says the regime's attack on demonstrators yesterday shows it has no interest in addressing the island's deep political problems.

MATAR: Part of the ruling family, their agenda is to solve issues through violence.

LANGFITT: Saudi troops, who are fellow Sunnis, drove into Bahrain earlier this week to help break the rebellion. Matar says the U.S., which has a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, should pressure them to leave.

MATAR: United States, they need to condemn the entrance of the Saudi troops and ask the Saudis to roll back their troops. They need to say it clearly.

LANGFITT: Ahmed al-Mulla(ph), a civil engineer, was among those manning the barricades.

AHMED AL: First of all, they start shooting by tear gas and sound bomb. Then, they start shooting by live bullet.

LANGFITT: Al-Mulla says residents fled into the backstreets.

AL: And the police, they start running after them. Even when they are run away, they start shooting on them. That's why so many people injured.

LANGFITT: With roads closed, the local Mullah Isa Mosque(ph) became a field hospital with members helping to dress wounds. Ali Mirza Marhoon, who works in an aluminum plant, pitched in. He says the cops didn't just try to disperse the crowd, they aimed their shotguns high.

ALI MIRZA MARHOON: It's only in the face and the chest and back. We don't see injuries in legs.

LANGFITT: With all the violence, helping the wounded has been a big problem. This morning, reporters visited two health centers that the government had shut down in the midst of the attacks. At one, a security guard, who only gave his first name of Salah(ph), said some patients were forced to go to other hospitals, and others were taken in by residents nearby.

LANGFITT: Why did they close the hospital?

SALAH: Because they don't want anybody to help these people injured.

LANGFITT: Frank Langfitt, NPR News, Manama, Bahrain.

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