A lower-tier open-wheel race in Bahrain was called off Thursday amid anti-government protests and a crushing response by riot police. The cancellation leaves in doubt next month's season-opening Formula One race at the same track.
Troops and tanks locked down the capital of this tiny Gulf kingdom after riot police swinging clubs and firing tear gas smashed into demonstrators, many of them sleeping, in a pre-dawn assault Thursday that uprooted their protest camp demanding political change. Medical officials said four people were killed.
Unrest surging through the Arab world has so far taken no toll on the American military. But that could change if revolt washes over the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, longtime home to the U.S. Navy's mighty 5th Fleet and arguably the Middle East anchor of U.S. defense strategy.
Former protesters are waiting cautiously to see whether the army — now Egypt's governing body — will fulfill its promises of social justice while other discontented groups are emerging in force and the economy stagnates.
The Obama administration is stepping up its criticism of the Bahraini government, as anti-regime protests in the U.S.-allied Persian Gulf nation entered their third day on Wednesday.
Protesters demanding sweeping political reforms from Bahrain's rulers held their ground Wednesday in an Egypt-style occupation of the capital's landmark square, staging a third day of demonstrations that have brought unprecedented pressure in one of Washington's most strategic allies in the Gulf.
Hundreds of Libyans calling for the government's ouster clashed with security forces early Wednesday in the country's second-largest city as Egypt-inspired unrest spread to the country long ruled by Moammar Gadhafi.
The ruling body of motor sports is confident the anti-government protests in Bahrain will not prevent the running of next month's season-opening race in Formula One.
Thousands of demonstrators denounced the Bahraini government Tuesday after police shot a man in a funeral procession, while the main opposition bloc boycotted parliament in solidarity with the pro-democracy protesters in the key U.S.-allied Persian Gulf nation.