By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Bahraini security forces have arrested at least six key opposition figures as part of a crackdown against Shi’ite-led protests in the Sunni-ruled island kingdom.
Bahrain has been hit by weeks of protests by the Shi’ite Muslim majority demanding political reform.
On March 16, security forces used tanks and helicopters to drive protesters off the streets of the capital, Manama.
Two protesters and two policemen died in the crackdown.
Bahrain’s king has declared a three-month emergency rule and authorities have imposed a curfew in Manama.
Saudi Arabia has sent troops to Bahrain to help maintain order in response to a request for help from Bahraini authorities to other Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab nations.
U.S. President Barack Obama has called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain to express deep concern over the violence.
Iran has denounced the crackdown and the presence of the Saudi-led force.
Among those detained overnight were several prominent members of the largest opposition party, Wefaq.