Anti-government protesters in Bahrain shut down the country’s financial district in the capital of Manama on Sunday. The blockade was the most serious challenge to the ruling Bahraini monarchy since protests began in February. Police responded by firing teargas and rubber bullets at the protestors. Meanwhile, at the main university campus, clashes erupted after protesters accused security forces of protecting armed vigilantes tasked with fomenting tensions between the majority Shiite population and the Sunni ruling elite. The protests came a day after U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates met with the ruling Khalifa family to warn against the use of force in quelling protests. Gates expressed worries that Iran might be looking for ways to exploit the sectarian tensions, and told reporters, “time is not our friend.”
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