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White House condemns violence against Bahrain protesters

President Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, says the administration is disappointed and displeased by the deadly violence against protesters in Manama, Bahrain's capital. 'The government has a responsibility to maintain peace,' Carney says.

February 17, 2011|By Michael Muskal | Los Angeles Times

The White House on Thursday strongly condemned violence against protesters in Bahrain, the latest Arab country trying to cope with anti-government demonstrations.

Speaking to reporters, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration was disappointed and displeased by the deadly violence. Carney also said that top officials including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had contacted their opposite numbers in Bahrain to express the administration's concern.

At least three people were reportedly killed and 230 wounded during an early morning attack on sleeping protesters when the army deployed on the streets of Manama, the capital city.

"The government has a responsibility to maintain peace," said Carney, who expressed his condolences to the families of those killed. The press secretary said the United States opposed the use of force against people who are protesting and airing their legitimate grievances.

Carney noted that his comments were the same policy that President Obama had expressed during the unrest in Egypt when the U.S. had called for peaceful negotiations by all sides. Since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign, anti-government demonstrations have continued in Bahrain, Algeria and Yemen, among other countries.

"Governments in the region need to be more responsive to their people in order to live up to their hopes and dreams," Carney said. "Instability comes from not responding to legitimate grievances and aspirations."

Clinton has been touch with Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa about the deaths. Speaking to reporters, Clinton also said the United States will allocate $150 million to help Egypt with its transition to democracy.

"We urge a return to a process that will result in real, meaningful changes for the people there," Clinton said in televised remarks.

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