Bahrain: Army off the streets as opposition rejects dialogue offer
Bahrain's main Shiite opposition bloc said on Saturday that the government must step down before it will respond to an offer of dialogue from the kingdom's crown prince. "To consider dialogue, the government must resign and the army should withdraw from the streets" of Manama, said Abdul Jalil Khalil Ibrahim, parliamentary leader of the Islamic National Accord Association (Al-Wifaq). "What we're seeing now is not the language of dialogue but the language of force," he said, referring to the government's crackdown on protesters Friday in which he said 95 people were wounded, three of them "clinically dead".
Meanwhile, Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa ordered the army off the streets. Shortly after military forces pulled away from Pearl Square, large crowds of demonstrators poured into the area by car and on foot. According to AFP, police at first dispersed them with tear gas, but thousands later returned, removing barbed wire and reoccupying the roundabout.
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