||Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2011 - 18:46:22
Bahrain and other nations in the Middle East must exercise restraint in response to ongoing protests, President Barack Obama urged Friday.
The statement came a day after Bahrain's crackdown on protesters, in defiance of Washington's earlier calls for calm, left 23 people injured in the capital of Manama, Reuters reports. On Thursday, a police raid of protest camps killed four and wounded hundreds more.
"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 in a statement read by spokesman Jay Carney to reporters aboard Air Force One, according to The Associated Press.
"The 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."
A critical strategic ally, the island nation of Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and borders Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of oil.
In Libya, soldiers clashed violently with activists after a funeral for 15 protesters gunned down during the upheaval.
In Yemen, at least four anti-government protesters were killed in clashes with riot police and supporters of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The president is currently on the West Coast to meet with technology leaders to discuss plans to create jobs, AP reports.
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