Protesters reclaim square in Bahrain | world | Hindustan Times
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Protesters reclaim square in Bahrain

world Updated: Feb 19, 2011 22:46 IST

Thousands of jubilant Bahrainis returned on Saturday to Manama’s Pearl Square, the focal point of bloody anti-regime demonstrations, after police and troops withdrew in what appeared to be a conciliatory move.

After the security forces had pulled out, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa ordered that they were to stay away from demonstrators.

Salman, who is deputy commander of armed forces, ordered “all security forces to immediately withdraw from assembly areas,” a statement carried by BNA state agency said.

He had asked the “crowds to leave” to start a “new phase of national action that would bring together all parties.”

The latest developments come as pressure grows on the pro-western Gulf kingdom to negotiate with the Shiite-led opposition, which has been demanding the current government resign before talks offered by the king can begin.