Obama close up 311.
(photo credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — US President Barack Obama on Friday condemned reports of violence in response to protests in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen
and urged government restraint as unrest swept the volatile region in
the aftermath of Egypt's uprising. The perilous situation threatens US
interests and poses a major diplomatic and national security challenge
to the Obama administration.And
in Yemen, anti-government demonstrators clashed with supporters of
Yemen's longtime ruler and riot police, who fired tear gas and live
ammunition. Yemen's leader is a key US ally in fighting al-Qaida
"I am deeply concerned about reports
of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the
use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those
countries and wherever else it may occur," Obama said.
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United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show
restraint in responding to peaceful protests and to respect the rights
of their people."
The president's statement was read aloud by
White House press secretary Jay Carney to reporters traveling with the
president on Air Force One from California to Oregon.
rulers across the Middle East, including some US allies, are facing
public uprisings after protesters in Tunisia and last week Egypt
succeeding in ousting their leaders.
In Bahrain, soldiers opened
fire Friday on thousands of protesters defying a government ban. The
tiny nation is a critical ally that is home port for the US Navy's 5th
Fleet, the centerpiece of the Pentagon's efforts to confront Iranian
In Libya, marchers clashed with security personnel after a funeral where the bodies of 15 protesters shot to death were buried.
Carney said Obama was getting frequent updates on the
Middle East upheaval. The president is on the West Coast to meet with
high-tech leaders and discuss plans to support innovation and boost jobs
in the United States.