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Crackdown
After days of protests in the streets of the capital, Manama, Bahraini security forces took off the kid gloves. And the civilian casualties are rising.
Bahraini Shiites on Feb. 18 at the funeral of a protester killed in the previous day's police raid of Pearl Square. Bahraini security forces later opened fire on the funeral proceedings. At least one person was reportedly killed.

A woman at the Feb. 18 funeral procession for a slain protester holds a sign that reads, "We sacrifice our soul and blood for martyrs."

Though Bahrain's rulers are Sunnis, the majority of the population is of the Shiite faith. Above, attendees of a Feb. 18 funeral stand before a mural that references the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, an early Shiite saint.

The Bahraini royal family organized its own pro-government demonstrations for Feb. 18. Above, a man holds a sign that reads "The Khalifa family is the symbol of legitimacy."
The kingdom is ruled by a Sunni minority, which has long discriminated against the Shiite majority. Above, a protester on Feb. 16, hours before the crackdown, holds up a sign pleading for unity between Bahrain's Sunni and Shiite communities.

The army asserted control of the streets of Manama on Feb. 17, as tanks and heavily armed soldiers stood watch over street corners and city squares.

 
Family members mourn the loss of Ali Ahmed al Muameen, an anti-government protester killed in Bahrain during a funeral on Feb. 18 in Sitra, Bahrain.

Manama's Pearl Sqaure had been the central site of anti-government protests, before security forces arrived in the early morning hours of Feb. 17, using shotguns, batons, and tear gas against the unarmed demonstrators.

As the police attacked protesters at Pearl Square, the Ministry of Health reportedly ordered that ambulances not be dispatched to the scene. Only after the violence had dissipated were health workers allowed to arrive. Ambulances that arrived earlier were actually attacked by police.

A surgeon at a Manama hospital leads a protest on Feb. 17, after at least five people were killed in a raid against anti-government protesters.

Bahraini women protesters sit in front of graffiti in Pearl Square early on Feb. 16.

Some protesters at Pearl Square foretold that there would be violence. Above, a demonstrator on Feb. 16 holds aloft a sign that says freedom comes at a bloody price.

Protesters demanded the introduction of a constitutional monarchy -- the country is currently run by King Hamad, an absolute monarch -- and equal treatment of the country's Shiite population.
 
Foreinpolicy