LONDON, March 18 (UPI) -- With several members of the opposition arrested in Bahrain, British Prime Minister David Cameron called on ruling authorities to show restraint.
King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa declared a three-month state of emergency Tuesday and 2,000 troops, mainly from Saudi Arabia, were deployed to help Bahraini forces tackle growing unrest.
Bahraini security forces arrested several of the country's main opposition leaders Thursday after a crackdown on anti-government protests in Manama. At least six people were killed during Wednesday's violence and security forces were reported to have taken over hospitals and medical centers in the country.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was deeply alarmed by the escalation of violence in the country.
"This is shocking and illegal conduct," she said in a statement. "Police and armed forces must immediately leave healthcare facilities and cease their harassment and intimidation of health professionals."
Cameron said he phoned the Bahraini king to express his serious concern about the deteriorating situation.
"Bahrain must respect the right to peaceful protest and respond to the legitimate concerns of the Bahraini people," Cameron said in a statement through his spokesman. "Protesters must also refrain from violence and we urge them to respond positively to the offer of national dialogue."
Several rights groups have expressed mounting concern over the brutal response by the Sunni leader to the minority Shiite-led protests in the country.