Obama asks Bahrain not to use force against protesters

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Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 17 (PTI) US President Barack Obamatoday asked Bahrain not to use force against peacefulprotesters, as the army in the tiny Gulf kingdom vowed "strictmeasures" to restore order after a violent raid on anti-regimedemonstrators that left four people dead and scores wounded.

While Obama hasn''t spoken directly with the King ofBahrain, but several top Administration officials includingSecretary of State Hillary Clinton are in regular contact withtheir Bahranian counterparts, White House spokesman Jay Carneytold reporters.

"We oppose the use of violence in Bahrain," Carneysaid, adding that the US calls on the government of Bahrain to"show restraint in responding to peaceful protests."

"Our position here is reflective ... in many ways withwhat it was with the demonstrations in Egypt," he said.

"We didn''t dictate events in Egypt."

Earlier Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called herBahrain counterpart Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa toexpress her deep concern about recent events and urgedrestraint.

Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the powerful SenateForeign Relations Committee, in a letter to King Hamad ofBahrain expressed his strong opposition to use of forceagainst peaceful protesters in his country.

Observing that use of tear gas, batons, and rubberbullets on peaceful protesters is the worst kind of responseto a nonviolent demonstration, Kerry urged Bahrain to put anend to the violence and allow the Bahrainis to voice theircall for greater political freedom.

"Use of violence against peaceful demonstrators is awrong way to go," Carney said in response to a question andadded that the US is disappointed and not pleased at the turnof events in Bahrain; wherein the government has used forceagainst peaceful protesters.

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