Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has said that the country will continue to reform in the face of more protests, despite a crackdown by security forces.

“I shall not allow any faltering of the reform process I began when I took the reins of power,” said King Hamad on 19 March.

The statement from the king comes despite security forces continuing to arrest opposition activists and the demolition by the government of the Pearl roundabout, which had become a symbolic home of the youth protest movement.

The US has made several calls for Bahrain to embrace a negotiated settlement to the protests.

“We have made clear that security alone cannot resolve the challenges facing Bahrain… Violence is not the answer, a political process is,” said US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on 19 March.

A few days earlier a state department spokesman had urged “security forces to cease violence, especially on medical personnel and facilities”.

There have been several reports of attacks on hospitals and medical personnel by security forces since a fresh assault aimed at quelling the anti-government protests was launched on 15 March.