MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahrain on Friday tore down the 300-foot monument at the heart of a square purged of Shiite protesters this week, erasing a symbol of an uprising that's inflaming sectarian tensions across the region.
The monument — six white curved beams topped with a huge concrete pearl — was built in Pearl Square as a tribute to the Sunni-ruled kingdom's history as a pearl-diving center. It became the backdrop to the Shiite majority's uprising in the capital, Manama.
Security forces overran the camp on Wednesday, setting off clashes that killed at least five people, including two police officers. At least 12 people have been killed in the monthlong revolt.
Bahrain's foreign minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, told reporters in Manama that the army brought down the monument because "it was a bad memory."
Shiite anger rose sharply around the Mideast on Friday as large crowds in Iran and Iraq cursed Bahrain's Sunni monarchy and its Saudi backers over the violent crackdown on protesters demanding more rights.
Amateur video of security forces shooting and beating protesters has spread across the Internet and fueled fury in predominantly Shiite Iraq and in Iran.