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Architects flee Bahrain turmoil

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Architects working in Bahrain have been advised to escape the country as tanks arrived on the streets of the capital city Manama

Atkins has started to decant its 170 Bahrain staff while Aedas has closed its office in the country.

An Atkins spokesperson said: ‘We have activated our contingency plan for Bahrain and are now decanting our people to other Atkins locations in the region to ensure the safety of our people and continued service to our clients.’

Tanks arrived on the streets of Manama today after escalating sectarian violence and protests. On Monday 1,000 Saudi troops marched on the city in an attempt to bolster the government.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office today urged Britons to leave Bahrain unless they have a ‘pressing reason to remain’.

A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Manama told the AJ: ‘The political situation is unpredictable, and many offices, particularly in the main business districts of central Manama, [are] closed for business due to roadblocks.

‘UK architect / consultant engineering firms in Bahrain include Atkins, Mott MacDonald, Hyder Consulting, URS Scott Wilson, Jacobs and Aedas.   Some of these firms have offices in central Manama and are closed.’

A UK Trade & Investment spokesperson added: ‘We advise against all travel to Bahrain and if any Briton must travel to Bahrain they must maintain a very high level of security and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.

‘Clearly [demonstrations] will make business in Bahrain nigh on impossible at the moment.’

On Tuesday (15 March), the Government of Bahrain declared a three month state of emergency. Yesterday protestors at ‘Pearl Roundabout’ were cleared by the Bahraini Police.

A spokesperson for the RMJM, which recently opened a new office in the country, however said: ‘Bahrain has been dealing with various aspects of unrest for many years and business in the kingdom is continuing.’

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has chartered extra flights to help evacuate British expatriates and confirmed that mobile phone networks in the country are now working intermittently.

An FCO statement said: ‘We urge people to consider carefully the security situation in their local vicinity before leaving their homes and travelling to the airport.’

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