Britain urges nationals to leave Bahrain

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Britain urged any nationals still in Bahrain to leave the country under their own steam on Thursday, but promised to help anyone who could not get hold of a flight ticket.

"We recommend those British nationals who do not have a pressing reason to remain to leave via Bahrain International Airport on 17 March by commercial means," the Foreign Office's travel update said Wednesday.

"Commercial flights continue to operate to and from Bahrain and the airport remains open and operating normally," it continued.

"The UK government is chartering planes to supplement commercially available options. If you wish to leave and cannot secure tickets for a commercial flight, you can register your interest in using this route," the update added.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the precise number of British nationals in Bahrain was not known, but estimated it was "several thousand".

Bahraini police Wednesday crushed the Manama camp of a month-old pro-democracy protest in an operation that left five dead and sparked Shiite outrage across the region.

British Prime Minister David Cameron personally urged the Middle Eastern country's king to respond to ongoing protests with "reform, not repression", his spokesman said.

© 2011 AFP

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