In Bahrain, Navy downplays impact of protests

STUTTGART, Germany-- As thousands of Bahrainis gathered on Friday to mourn the deaths of five protesters killed during the ongoing unrest in Bahrain, U.S. military personnel living and working in the shadow of the upheaval continue to keep a low profile.

More than 4,000 servicemembers are stationed in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. And remarkably, since start of anti-government demonstrations and a subsequent crackdown by Bahrain’s autocratic government, the U.S. Navy has quietly continued operations amid all the tumult.

While violence has flared in the country, the U.S. troop presence doesn’t appear to be much of an issue for the throngs of protesters, according to a Navy official in Bahrain. “There is no change and still nothing to suggest significant disruptions,” said Jennifer Stride, a spokeswoman for the Naval Support Activity Bahrain, in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes on Friday. “There are no protests in the vicinity of NSA. We continue to advise personnel to avoid demonstration areas.”

There are about 2,200 American servicemembers and civilians who live on the economy in Bahrain. And there are no plans to relocate them to facilities on base, according to Stride.

If there are any Bahrain-based sailors out there reading, what does the scene look like in your neighborhood?


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