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Bahrainis Back In Pearl Square To Press Demands

Bahraini protesters are camping out in Manama's Pearl Square to demand a new government.

Led by majority Shi'ites demanding more rights in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, some 10,000 demonstrators packed Pearl Square. Protests have been held in the capital city's center for a week.

More than 1,500 teachers gathered at the square have declared a strike. The opposition is demanding a true constitutional monarchy that gives citizens a greater role in a directly elected government. It also wants the release of political prisoners.

King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has asked his son, the crown prince, to conduct a dialogue with all parties.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Saudi Arabia's foreign minister have agreed to support a dialogue between the Bahraini government and its opponents.

Bahrain, a tiny island nation in the Persian Gulf, hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

compiled from agency reports