Pearl Monument Destroyed in Bahrain

Pearl Monument in Manama, Bahrain  (AP photo)

Pearl Monument in Manama, Bahrain (AP photo)

Pearl Monument Destroyed in Bahrain


Bahrain on Friday tore down the 300-foot (90-meter) monument at the heart of a square purged of Shiite protesters this week, erasing a symbol of an uprising that's inflaming sectarian tensions across the region.

The monument – six white curved beams topped with a huge cement pearl – was built in Pearl Square as a tribute to the Sunni-ruled kingdom's history as a pearl-diving center. It became the backdrop to the Shiite majority's uprising after protesters set up a month-long camp at Pearl Square in the capital, Manama.

Security forces overran the camp on Wednesday, setting off clashes that killed at least five people, including two policemen. At least 12 people have been killed in the month-long revolt.

Bahrain's foreign minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, told reporters in Manama that the army brought down the monument because "it was a bad memory."

"We are not waging war, we are restoring law and order," Khalid said at a press conference in Manama.

Shiite anger rose sharply around the Mideast on Friday as large crowds in Iran and Iraq cursed Bahrain's Sunni monarchy and its Saudi backers over the violent crackdown on protesters demanding more rights.

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