February 16, 2011 / 12:56 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-US concerned by violence in Bahrain protests

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WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The United States said on Tuesday it was “very concerned” by recent violence in protests in Bahrain and urged all sides to exercise restraint.

“The United States is very concerned by recent violence surrounding protests in Bahrain,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a statement. “We also call on all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from violence.”

The spokesman said Washington had received confirmation that two protesters in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, had been killed and urged Bahrain to quickly follow up on its pledge to investigate.

“The United States welcomes the government of Bahrain’s statements that it will investigate these deaths, and that it will take legal action against any unjustified use of force by Bahraini security forces,” Crowley said.

Shi’ite protesters prepared to camp out in Bahrain’s capital on Tuesday evening after a day of protests in which a man was shot dead in clashes with police at a funeral for a demonstrator shot the day before. [ID:nLDE71F002]

Protesters, inspired by popular revolts that toppled rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, said their main demand was the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, who has governed the Gulf Arab state since its independence in 1971.

The demonstrators from Bahrain’s Shi’ite majority say the ruling Sunni minority shuts them out of housing, healthcare and government jobs. (Editing by Eric Beech)

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