As U.S. troops arrive, riots erupt in Bahrain
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Wednesday, January 1, 2003
ABU DHABI Ñ Hundreds of masked rioters went on a rampage in Bahrain's capital city Wednesday, attacking hotels frequented by Americans and cars with Saudi license plates.
Bahrain, which has a large Shi'ite minority loyal to Iran, is a close
ally of Washington and home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. U.S. troops and
supplies have been pouring into the kingdom over the last few weeks.
The masked men surged through the capital of Manama, attacking women, torching vehicles and debris, and smashing
hotel windows in areas usually frequented by Americans and Westerners.
Bahraini anti-riot police responded with tear gas. The security forces
charged into the rioters, who rampaged along a leading avenue in the
capital's downtown district.
At least 100 cars were damaged, witnesses said. Many of them bore Saudi
license plates. Saudi Arabia has been accused of persecuting its large
Shi'ite minority in the eastern portion of the kingdom.
Several people were injured and arrested, officials said. Authorities
closed off an area of Manama to prevent the spread of the riot.
Earlier, Bahrain's new Islamic-dominated parliament warned of any
U.S.-led war against Iraq. In a statement, parliament said such a war would
result in "devastating consequences for the security and economies of Gulf
countries and consequently world security and peace."