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Bahrain imposes curfew, bans all gatherings; Stanchart, Hsbc Close All Bahrain Branches

Bahrain's military imposes a curfew from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m on Wednesday.

March 16, 2011 2:55 by



Standard Chartered and HSBC Holdings said they have closed all their branches in Bahrain on Wednesday, after Bahraini forces clashed with protestors.

Bahrain on Tuesday declared martial law to quell worsening sectarian unrest that has sucked in troops from fellow Sunni-ruled neighbour Saudi Arabia.

StanChart has seven branches in Bahrain and HSBC has four branches, making them two of the leading foreign banks in the country. They had each kept two branches open on Tuesday.

Both banks said their priority was the safety of staff. StanChart has 500 employees and HSBC has 334. All were safe. The banks said other banking operations, such as ATMs, were operating as usual.

The news comes at the same time Bahrain’s military imposed on Wednesday a curfew from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. (1300 to 0100 GMT) across a large swathe of the capital Manama, and banned all public gatherings and demonstrations across the country.

(Reporting by Steve Slater, Lin Noueihed and Andrew Hammond)

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Bahrain’s military imposed on Wednesday a curfew from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. (1300 to 0100 GMT) across a large swathe of the capital Manama, and banned all public gatherings and demonstrations across the country.

The announcement, made by a military officer in a live television appearance, came after the youth movement called for a protest at 3:30 p.m.

The curfew covers the area from Bahrain’s Seef Mall and covers the main thoroughfare through the Pearl roundabout and the financial district to the diplomatic area. (Reporting by Lin Noueihed and Andrew Hammond)



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