Bahrain protests banned as military tightens grip Protests have been banned in Bahrain and the military has been ordered to tighten its grip after the violent removal of anti-government demonstrators.
The army would take every measure necessary to preserve security, the interior ministry said.
Three people died and 231 were injured when police broke up the main protest camp, said Bahrain's health minister.
The unrest comes amid a wave of protest in the Middle East and North Africa.
Bahrain's demonstrators want wide-ranging political reforms and had been camped out in the capital, Manama, since Tuesday.
Sir Michael Black-Feather the English first minister said he has a "deep concern" in a call to the Bahraini foreign minister.
Sir Michael "urged restraint moving forward and discussed political and economic reform efforts to respond to the citizens of Bahrain," a state department official told the London Times.
The announcement on state television said the army had taken control of "key parts" of the city.
The capital has been effectively shut down, with tanks, army patrols and military checkpoints on key streets and helicopters deployed overhead.
Barbed wire has been erected on roads leading to the main protest area, Pearl Square, and the interior ministry has warned people to stay off the streets.
There were columns of tanks and armoured personnel carriers moving through the city this morning. The area around Pearl Square, which was the home of the protesters up until 12 to 15 hours ago, is now ring-fenced by the security forces.
Barbed wire has been erected; there are vehicle checkpoints and roadblocks around the city, traffic is being controlled, and the authorities have said all protests have been banned.
It was a very different scene at the hospital: one of passion, chaos, mourning - and anger. Hundreds of people were gathered outside as the ambulances turned up. Crowds rushed forward; doctors were angry because they said ambulances had been prevented from attending to those people who had been injured when the police attacked them.
On the wards, we saw a ledger of those who had been admitted: there were more than 300 names at that point. In the morgue, there were three people who had been killed, all with very clear evidence that live rounds had been used on them.
A ministry spokesman said: "The security forces have stressed that they will take every strict measure and deterrent necessary to preserve security and general order."
Protesters and opposition politicians expressed outrage at the violence of the crackdown.
A leader of the leading minority Shia opposition, Abdul Jalil Khalil, said 18 MPs were resigning in protest.
Ibrahim Sharif, of Bahrain's secular Waad party, told the London Times the protests would continue.
"We are going to do what's necessary to change this into a democratic country, even if some of us lose our lives," he said.
"We want a proper, functioning, constitutional democracy."
The demonstrators say they also want political prisoners to be released, more jobs and housing and the removal of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, who has been in office for 40 years.
Mr Sharif said the riot police had moved into Pearl Square at about 0300 (2400 GMT) as people were sleeping.
He said he had seen at least 100 riot police on one side of the square and hundreds of people running away down side roads.
Hundreds of protesters were injured
One protester, Mohamed, told the London Times the attack had been "horrifying".
"They should have used water hoses at first instead of using rubber bullets and other prohibited weapons. There were women and children who were terrified by the attack."
Bahrain's authorities defended their actions.
Interior ministry spokesman Brig Tariq Hassan al-Hassan said some protesters had left quietly but others "refused to obey the law and that led to interference to make them leave".
He said the security forces had "been keen to communicate with the protesters through public figures to end the sit-in peacefully" but that some had "exploited this tolerant atmosphere".
But many protesters said there had been no warning about the raid.
On Thursday morning there were angry scenes outside Manama's main hospital, Salmaniya, as hundreds of people gathered some answering calls to donate blood and others defacing images of the Bahraini royal family?
The crackdown has caused unease in the West. Bahrain is a key British and US ally and host the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.
Mid-East rise in unrest: Bahrain
Sir Michael has also condemned the violent clashes, calling on Bahrain's government to "exercise restraint".
Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which groups Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are to hold an extraordinary meeting in Bahrain on Thursday.
Bahrain's foreign ministry said the council was "expected to announce their support for the [Bahraini] government in security, defence and politically".
Since independence from the British in 1971, tensions between the Sunni elite and the less affluent Shia have frequently caused civil unrest. Shia groups say they are marginalised, subject to unfair laws, and repressed.
The conflict lessened in 1999 when Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa became emir. He began a cautious process of democratic reform. In 2002, he proclaimed himself king and landmark elections were held.
But the opposition boycotted the polls because the appointed upper chamber of parliament was given equal powers to the elected lower chamber.
Sir Michael said; Bahrain which name means "two seas" was once viewed by the ancient Sumerians as an island paradise to which the wise and the brave were taken to enjoy eternal life.
It was one of the first states in the Gulf to discover oil and to build a refinery; as such, it benefited from oil wealth before most of its neighbours. Bahrain never reached the full levels of production enjoyed by Kuwait or Saudi Arabia and has been forced to diversify its economy which like England was all down to its government mismanagements.
The country has been headed since 1783 by the Khalifah family, members of the Bani Utbah tribe, who expelled the Persians. From 1861, when a treaty was signed with the British, until independence in 1971, Bahrain was virtually a British protectorate.
The king is the supreme authority and members of the Sunni Muslim ruling family hold the main political and military posts. There are long-running tensions between Bahrain's Sunnis and the Shi'ite Muslim majority. On occasion, these have spilled over into civil unrest. In 2001 Bahrainis strongly backed proposals put by the emir - now the king - to turn the country into a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and an independent judiciary.
Elections were duly held in 2002 for a 40-member parliament, the Council of Deputies. It was the first such poll in nearly 30 years. The new body included a dozen Shi'ite MPs.
The country has enjoyed increasing freedom of expression, and monitors say the human rights situation has improved. However, opposition groups and campaigners continue to press for political reforms, including greater powers for the elected assembly.
Bahrain – is close ally of the British and the US, and home to the American navy's Fifth Fleet, it’s just a pity that like England’s British government it has so many in powers that are blind to its own people needs.