Daily Archives: March 14, 2011

FDA: Toxic drug crisis “inevitable”

As more drugs sold in the U.S. are manufactured overseas, FDA warns it can’t guarantee their safety.

FDA: Another tainted drug crisis seems inevitable

CNNMoney | Mar 14, 2011

By Parija Kavilanz

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — A senior Food and Drug Administration regulator warned that another public health crisis may be inevitable because the agency can’t guarantee the safety of many drugs and food products manufactured overseas.

“The safety of America’s food and medical products is under serious challenge,” John Taylor, FDA’s acting principal deputy commissioner, said Monday.

He said the safety agency must reinvent itself to operate more effectively globally, or “another public health crisis like Heparin seems inevitable.”

In 2008, contaminants in Heparin, a blood thinner being produced in China, led to more than 100 deaths in the United States.

The FDA is responsible for overseeing the safety and manufacturing quality of food, drugs, medical devices, vaccines, cosmetics and tobacco products.
U.S. takes over three Tylenol plants

Speaking at the Pew Health Group conference in Washington D.C., Taylor said the FDA can’t keep up with how quickly manufacturing has shifted overseas.

Decades ago, Taylor said the agency had a better grip on ensuring the safety of those products because most of them were made in the United States.

But today, he said, the agency is crippled in its mission to protect the health of Americans since a lot of medicine sold in the U.S. is made abroad and outside of strict FDA oversight.

40% of drugs consumed in the United States are imported, while 80% of the ingredients used in U.S. drugs come from other countries.

And food imports have grown on average 10% each year for at least 7 years, he said.

“Today, there are more than 130,000 importers of record and more than 300 ports of entry in the United States,” he said.

Taylor said the FDA’s difficulty in monitoring imports is also leading to more counterfeit and adulterated products entering the U.S.

One recent high-profile incident was the contaminated Heparin from China that killed more than 140 people in the United States. Other incidents include toothpaste from China containing Diethylene Glycol — used in antifreeze — counterfeit Lipitor from Central America and counterfeit glucose monitor test strips.

The next few years, he said, are critical for the agency to transform itself to adapt to the global challenges.

Taylor provided a glimpse of what he called the FDA’s “global strategy and action plan.”

Among his key points: the FDA will partner with its foreign counterparts to create a global coalition of regulators; it will boost intelligence gathering and the agency will encourage consumers and the private sector to help in its efforts.

“Regulators cannot do it alone,” said Taylor.  To top of page

Organic farmers fear Gentically Modified crops are blowing in the wind


BLOWING IN THE WIND: Thousands of GM seeds contaminate organic farmer Stephen Marsh’s land.  Picture: Marie Nirme  Source: PerthNow

PerthNow | Mar 14, 2011

by Narelle Towie

WA farms are at risk of contamination by genetically modified seeds when strong winds whip across the state, officials admit.

Organic farmers say their livelihoods are at stake as freak weather events, such as the thunderstorms that ripped through the Wheatbelt on January 27, become more common.

Conventionally farmed GM-free grain can be contaminated legally by 0.9 per cent GM, but organically certified yields cannot contain a trace.

A Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said that if GM canola seeds remained after the 2010 harvest, they could have blown on to neighbouring properties when “significant wind” events occurred in January and February.

“It is unlikely that any movement of small amounts of GM seed remaining in paddocks would lead to non-GM canola crops in the 2011-12 season exceeding the 0.9 per cent threshold,” the spokeswoman said.

But non-GM organic growers say that even this small amount of contamination risks their accreditation and could cost millions in lost revenue.

GM seeds are manipulated by biotechnology companies that insert genes from plants, animals or bacteria to give the crops resistance to pests, diseases, weedkiller, drought or frost. In today’s market they sell for about $30 a tonne less than organic varieties.

Just 11 months after an exemption order was issued in January 2009, which permitted commercial cultivation of GM crops in WA, Kojonup grain and sheep grower Steve Marsh was the first to be stripped of his organic certification after rogue seeds allegedly blew over his property.

He is embroiled in a legal battle with neighbour Michael Baxter in what is predicted to be a multimillion-dollar landmark lawsuit.

Mr Marsh said attempting to clean up the hundreds of thousands of tiny black-poppy sized GM seeds on his land was an impossible task.

“There is so much seed now that has been shed out of the plant that there are seeds everywhere,” Mr Marsh said. “All the visible plants will have to be removed by hand and cleaning up the seeds is impossible.

“We will have to wait now until they (the seeds) germinate and then they are going to have to be removed.  But this is the whole problem and this is what will have to be established legally and that is how long are those seeds going to be viable in the soil?

“We have heard anything from a few years to possibly 16 to 20 years.

“The first problem is who is responsible for cleaning it up?”

Farm action group Network of Concerned Farmers spokeswoman Julie Newman said extreme market sensitivity and tests which could pick up low levels of contamination had left organic farmers’ livelihoods blowing in the wind.

“The problem with GM canola if you have got it swatting then it will just blow away.  Some farmers have gone into their paddocks after swatting and found no canola in their paddocks after a big wind storm,” Ms Newman said.

“It shouldn’t be the non GM farmer who is expected to take the loss for any lost markets or price penalties,” Ms Newman said.

“This is what is so wrong with GM is that it removes the choice for non GM farmers.” But Agriculture Minister Terry Redman said zero tolerance is unrealistic position in biological systems.

“We have seven certifying bodies in Australia and all seven have different approaches when it comes to how they handle and manage GM.

“A lot of overseas certifying bodies allow a tolerance of GM in recognition of the same thing the Labor party recognised in 2005 and that is it’s unrealistic to have a zero tolerance position.”

“We have a myriad of different farming systems and sometimes someone does something that affects their neighbour.”

Meanwhile, a 2009 GM canola trial government report documents how windy conditions blew seeds onto neighbouring crops on at least two occasions.

A statement on the Department of Agriculture’s website states that strong winds can move drying plants onto adjacent paddocks and farmers should plan for this before planting GM crops.

Enviropigs – an Insult to Mother Nature and a Costly “Techno-fix” by Biotech Corporations Playing “God”

“Fragments of transgenic DNA might provoke chronic allergic or autoimmune disorders including such that cause serious disabling or even lethal disease.”

bloggernews.net | Feb 25, 2011

by Jan Barrett

This is a guest article by Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks – Simon

Enviropig is the trademark for a genetically modified line of Yorkshire pigs, first created in 1999, with the capability to digest plant phosphorus more efficiently than ordinary unmodified pigs.  They are considered “greener”, emitting a smaller quantity of pollutants in their manure.  Thus, the name “enviropig”.  Their creators hope one day that enviropig’s will be sold in markets, fast food chains and in packaged food.

The pig itself is marketed as “the first transgenic animal created to solve an environmental problem.”  But many critics say that the scale of livestock farming is what needs to change, not the pig’s genetics.  Charles Margulis, a spokesman for Greenpeace USA, says, “We think the Enviropig is a Frankenpig in disguise.” So do most independent scientists and researchers.

Like all living things, pigs need phosphorous from their food, because it plays a key role in the formation of bones, teeth and cell walls as well as in a variety of other cellular and organ functions.  According to Effect of High Available Phosphorus Corn and Elevated Fat and Protein Corn on Nutrient Digestibility and Excretion in Finishing Pigs by S. L. Hankins, A. L. Sutton and B. T. Richert, the typical Bt corn and soybean meal diets fed to pigs in the U.S. are known to contain as much as 80% of their phosphorus content in a form that is unavailable to the pig’s digestion.

Phosphorous derived from GMO Bt feed is indigestible by pigs without an enzyme called phytase.  Enviropigs were created to produce the enzyme phytase in the salivary glands that is secreted in the saliva.  Currently, farmers feed their pigs the phytase enzyme as a supplement.  But enviropig creators claim that phytase supplements aren’t as effective at breaking down phosphorus as the phytase created in a man-made enviropig.

Although pigs will raid a corn field from time to time, pigs are not genetically designed to eat corn.  By changing pigs from free-range grazing to confined pens where they are force-fed GMO Bt corn, the factory farming industry has embarked down a road where, like lies, it must make up a new “fix” to correct their last mistake.  Much like lying, once down that road, it requires one new “fix” after another to correct the problems caused by the previous “fix”.

Factory farms meets their phosphorus nutrient requirement by inorganic phosphorus supplementation, often in excess of dietary requirements.  To sell the use of enviropigs, the industry has forced the cost of inorganic phosphorous to a level where supplementation is expensive.  Using inorganic phosphorous only increases the percentage of undigested phosphorous. If humans can only absorb 50% of ingested synthetic supplements, then how can you expect another mammal to absorb anymore.

The creators of Enviropigs claim that their GE animal substantially reduces the phosphorus content of the animal’s manure – ranging from a 20 to 60% reduction.  However, there has been no independent testing to either prove or disprove this claim.  And there has been no testing to determine whether the use of growth hormones and excessive antibiotics on factory farms also contributes to the problem with absorbing phosphorous and other nutrients.

Factory farms spread the excess dietary phosphorus in the manure on the soil to grow Bt GMO feed increasing the amount of phosphorous in the feed and harming the soil.  Over the years, the levels of phosphorous have increased in the soil and will continue to increase as long as factory farmed GMO feed and manure derived from GMO pigs is used as fertilizer.  It damages the soil and everything grown in it.

During the rainy season, the phosphorous-tainted manure from factory farms runs off into lakes and estuaries, depleting oxygen, killing fish, stimulating algae overgrowth and emitting greenhouse gases.  Aquatic life cannot and has not survived in this tainted environment.

It is an industry-wide problem caused by factory farms and chemical pollutants such as pesticides, rGBH and an excessive use of antibiotics.  The problem of “deadzones” already exists in Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico caused by the runoff from all factory farms – not just pigs.  Enviropigs alone will not materially affect the “deadzones”.

Using the theories of enviropig creators, the U.S. would need “envirocattle”, “envirochickens”, “envirosheep” and “envirofish” to solve the problems caused by GMO feed.  Since humans also consume GMO fruits and vegetables high in phosphorous, perhaps a “envirohuman” will come next.  It sounds absurd but it is merely an extension of their school of thought.

Why do they feed pigs GMO Bt grains?  It is because those grains are cheap (and because they are subsidized by our government) and can be acquired in the huge amounts necessary to feed the millions of factory farmed pigs slaughtered every year.  It’s about money.  It’s always about money.  It would simpler and more logical to change the feed given to pigs from GMO feed to natural organic feed and organic supplements as needed.  Sustainable farmers do this every day with great success.

Pigs have been around from time immemorial and now we are changing nature’s way of feeding them.  Pigs have not and cannot evolve fast enough to adapt to a new food source – especially one contaminated by GMO bacterium, viruses and toxins.  In effect, we are changing the whole genetic makeup of pigs to accommodate the growers of GMO Bt feed and industrial factory farmers.

Researchers have spent more than a decade hunting for an enzyme that could break down phosphorous, finally finding it by using the genome of the E. coli bacterium.  Scientists combined DNA from the E. coli bacterium with a mouse (using more than 20,000 cloned cells to make sure the modification would work in mammals) to a Yorkshire pig’s embryo to create the Enviropig.  Most Americans know and understand that E. coli is a dangerous bacterium with dangerous consequences when consumed by humans.

The “murine parotid secretory protein gene” was also used as the “promoter” of the gene split.  Few people know what the “murine parotid secretory protein gene” is or that it causes sexual dimorphism which alters or eliminates the systematic difference in form between individuals of different sex in the same species.  This is why GMO animals have such few offspring survive birth.

Examples in changes include “color, size and the presence or absence of parts of the body used in courtship displays or fights, such as ornamental feathers, horns, antlers, or tusks.”  In simple terms, an enviropig may have a strange color, large breasts on a male or males with female genitalia and vice a versa.  I doubt that most Americans want to eat a “kinda funny look’n” pig.

Professor Joe Cummins says that GE foods contain genetic elements from bacteria that may be absorbed by our bodies and lead to promotion of inflammation, arthritis and lymphoma.  Dr. Sharyn Martin warns that “fragments of transgenic DNA might provoke chronic allergic or autoimmune disorders including such that cause serious disabling or even lethal disease.”

Full Article

. . .

More information:

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

Genetically altered pigs debate set to sizzle


Professor Cecil Forsberg, right, is seen with co-inventor of the “Enviropig,” Professor John Phillips, with one of the pigs in this file photo. Peter Lee/Mercury news services file photo

Not even its creators have tasted it yet.

guelphmercury.com | Mar 14, 2011

by Joseph Hall

Still wallowing in the bureaucratic muck of regulatory approval processes in Canada and the United States, the genetically modified “Enviropig” is likely years away from potential human consumption.

But the battle between proponents of the cleaner-pooping pig and a large chunk of Ontario’s “sustainable’ farming community may already be coming to a sizzle.

“We’re trying to turn the heat up on this,” says Sean McGivern, president of the National Farmers Union’s Ontario branch.

“It’s a file we’ve been on for a long time, but we just finally felt it was the time to become more vocal about it,” says McGivern, whose group represents about 2,500 small-scale farmers across the province.

Related

Enviropigs – an Insult to Mother Nature and a Costly “Techno-fix” by Biotech Corporations Playing “God”

Developed 12 years ago at the University of Guelph, Enviropigs utilize the tiny splices of mouse and bacterial DNA inserted into their genomes to radically cut the water-polluting phosphorous content of their manure.

At issue, however, is whether the environmentally friendly pig will befoul the market for organically grown pork.

“The real overarching problem that we see is the fact that (there are) no programs, procedures or protocols in place to be able to control the flow of this product,” says McGivern.

And, he fears, an inability to ensure segregation of Enviropigs from their conventional cousins would lead to an interbreeding of the stock.

This “genetic contamination”, McGivern says, would compromise the value of naturally raised pork, which fetches premium prices and produces higher quality meat.

“When I think of high value pork I think of Omega-3 enriched pork, organic pork, humanely raised pork,” he says.

“Those are all the types of pork people are paying a premium price for,” he says.

And those are the types of pork products that food-conscious North American consumers may reject if they fear genetic contamination.

“People that are buying those products aren’t looking for organic ‘genetically modified’ pork or humanely raised ‘genetically modified’ pork,” McGivern says.

“They are looking for something as pure and untouched as possible,” he says.

But Cecil Forsberg, an emeritus microbiologist at Guelph and a key developer of the Enviropig, says such concerns are unwarranted.

Forsberg says federal environment regulations issued in February 2010 on Enviropig containment, stipulate that all of the genetically altered animals would have to be carefully separated from normal stock.

And, he says, a new “pig tag” tracking system already being implemented to trace diseased stock or tainted meat back to their source farms could also be used to ensure Enviropigs don’t interbreed with their natural neighbours.

“It’s not long until all pigs are tracked, right to the slaughterhouse and right to the food market,” Forsberg says.

“And that being the case, then the Enviropig will be tracked like any other pig, so that the pork will be separated out.”

But McGivern also says the North American demand for pork, under pressure from other white meats and from stagnant population growth among traditional consumers, may force farmers to look elsewhere for future sales.

And, he argues, the mere chance that the Enviropig meat might be mixed in with normal stock could close off markets in Europe, where opposition to genetically engineered foods is fierce.

Just one Enviropig pork chop detected among a large cargo of natural meat could block the entire shipment, he fears.

“That is an issue that needs to be dealt with more clearly,” Forsberg says.

“But the thing is we’re not there yet, and this is an issue the government has to deal with.”

Despite its Hanna-Barbera cartoon-like handle, the Enviropig is based on ingenious genetic science.

The snippet of mouse DNA inserted into its genome works in tandem with an E. coli bacterium gene that’s been slipped in alongside, Forsberg explains.

The mouse sequence switches on the bacteria gene, which in turn induces the pig’s salivary glands to produce an enzyme known as phytase.

This phytase, which pigs and other mammals don’t naturally produce, allows the animal to break down the phosphorous found in its plant feed much more efficiently.

As a result, the amount of phosphorous coming out the other end of the animal is cut by 30 to 60 per cent.

This reduces the amount of the mineral that can make its way from spread manure into streams, rivers and lakes, where it can produce algae blooms and large-scale fish kills.

It also reduces costs to farmers, who no longer have to supplement their feed with phosphorous.

But McGivern, who operates a 1,000-acre (404-hectare) organic farm near Chatsworth, Ont., says the solution to phosphorous pollution is smaller operations, not genetically modified pigs.

McGivern says the industrial scale “factory” farms that produce most pork in Ontario simply spread too much manure-borne phosphorous for the available crops to absorb.

Aside from being a nutrient, phosphorous is a critical plant fertilizer. And the solution McGivern says, are farms that have smaller numbers of pigs and enough crop anchorage to absorb their waste.

But Forsberg says small farm operations, which literally plow almost all their phosphorous back into their own crops as fertilizer, are not in the offing.

“That’s a way to solve the problem, but at this time it’s very difficult to see how you’re going to farm these small farms.” he says. “It’s more economical to farm these bigger farms.”

Forsberg says the amount of phosphorous in Enviropig manure closely matches the ideal content that plants need to grow.

McGivern points out that phosphorous content can currently be lowered by adding phytase directly to the pig’s feed at minimal cost to farmers.

But Forsberg counters that this method is not as efficient a phosphate cutter as digesting Enviropigs, all of which are now confined to university pens.

“And the issue there is that once the gene is there. The pigs perform without any further addition.”

Forsberg says that neither he, nor any of his Guelph colleagues have actually tasted Enviropig meat, for fear of running afoul of the regulatory processes.

“Had it been as small as a chicken we certainly would have,” he says, adding the university closely tracks the large pigs.

“But based on the chemical composition . . . we see absolutely no reason why there should be a difference in the quality or flavour of the meat.”

Its Guelph creators submitted applications for Enviropig’s approval as human food and animal feed to Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the spring and summer of 2009.

Similar submissions were made two years earlier to the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., where 40 per cent of Canadian pork is sold.

In a separate process, Environment Canada approved proposals for the Enviropig’s safe commercial production in February 2010. Among other things, the guidelines specify the safeguards farmers must take to separate the pigs from their natural cousins, Forsberg says.

But deliberations on the pig’s use as food and feed in both countries are still ongoing, and there is no indication when a decision will be made, he says.

“There is no timeline, they will keep on reviewing the trials, asking us questions until they are satisfied,” Forsberg says.

“It’s a mystery to us as to how things are developing,” adds Forsberg who, to be squeaky clean, will not put a piece of the pig in his mouth until a decision is made.

Having lain relatively dormant as the approval processes unfolded, the issue has likely reared its snout now because of a fish, both Forsberg and McGivern say.

Specifically, a flurry of recent media reports have speculated that the FDA is poised to decide on genetically modified Atlantic salmon for human consumption.

Those fish have been fitted with a growth hormone gene from Pacific Chinook salmon that allow the Atlantic version to reach market size in half the normal time.

“What spiked the interest of people was the submission of transgenic fish in the U.S., the fast-growing salmon,” Forsberg says.

“Then the question was . . . whether the Enviropig would be the second animal approved.”

Canada’s major meat processing operations are committed to fence sitting on the Enviropig until regulatory decisions come down.

In letters to the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, which is spearheading Enviropig opposition, both the giant Maple Leaf Foods and Olymel meat packers said they would take no position until the federal regulators do.

Escaped cows are shot in front of children


The scene after escaped cows were killed in a field near to a housing estate in Wrexham. The local council said they were put down to prevent them suffering further distress  Photo: CASCADE

About 30 cattle which escaped from a farm and wandered into nearby gardens were rounded up and shot in front of onlookers, including children.

Telegraph | Mar 14, 2011

By Richard Savill

Neighbours said some children were “very distressed” after the friesians were killed in a field close to a housing estate and a hospital.

Police were called when the cattle escaped in Wrexham, north Wales. The animals were shot later in the day, amid concern for their welfare.

Wrexham council said the operation took place following a risk assessment to prevent further suffering and distress to the animals. The owner of the cattle could face court action, a spokesman said.

Staff at the nearby Chirk Community Hospital reportedly had to close the curtains on some of the wards to block the sight of the slaughter.

Joanne Jones, a nearby resident, said she was “disgusted.” “No one warned us about what was happening,” she added.

Another resident, who woke just after 1am to find some of the cows on her property, said: “I can’t believe all the animals had to be shot. It’s appalling.

“It took eight police officers and local residents an hour to round up the animals near the Co-op store. They were herded into a field by the hospital and we thought that was the end of it. Later, we saw them being inspected by environmental health and animal welfare officers. Before long, we could hear the shots ringing out.”

A fellow nearby resident added: “Some of my friends who live on the estate near the field were quite upset. Some of them have young children who were out playing at the time.”

Andy Lewis, the council’s chief housing and public protection officer, said: “The public were excluded from the area. The decision on the location used to carry out the destruction of the bovines and the timing of the cull was agreed following risk assessment and in the interests of public safety.”

A council spokesman said the cull was not due to disease.

Sam Hughes, clerk of Chirk town council, said: “It would have been better if the animals had been taken back to the farm buildings so the killing wasn’t done in view of people.”

Police said they were not involved in the animals’ slaughter. A spokesman for the National Farmers’ Union said he had no knowledge of the case but added: “It is very rare not only for cows to escape in such a large number, but that they were shot as well. I cannot think of it happening before.”

Obama calls for more gun control


Obama acknowledged that it was not easy to find common ground between gun owners and gun-control advocates. Photo: AFP/GETTY

Two months after the shooting of a US congresswoman, President Barack Obama has called for more stringent enforcement of existing gun laws, citing the “awful consequences” of gun violence in American society.

Telegraph | Mar 14, 2011

By Alex Spillius

In an article for The Arizona Daily Star, Mr Obama said legislation to bolster criminal background checks for gun buyers had not been properly implemented, with too many states providing “incomplete and inadequate” information.

He suggested rewarding states that provide the most comprehensive information to the criminal background database.

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California politicians demand right to carry arms

“We should make the system faster and nimbler,” the president added. “We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can’t escape it.”

The Arizona Daily Star is based in Tucson, where Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot during a January rampage in which six were killed and 12 others wounded. The accused assailant, Jared Loughner, was considered mentally unstable, yet because he was never deemed mentally ill by a judge or committed to an institution and was able to legally buy the gun police said he used.

Mr Obama acknowledged that it was not easy to find common ground between gun owners and gun-control advocates.

However, he said, “none of us should be willing to remain passive in the face of violence or resigned to watching helplessly as another rampage unfolds on television”.

Foreign shock troops enter Bahrain to put down protests


Foreign troops enter Bahrain as protests continue. AFP

CNN | Mar 14, 2011

(CNN) — Foreign troops arrived Monday in the strategically and financially important Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain after a month of citizen protests, the Bahraini government said.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain’s giant neighbor to the west, appears to have provided at least some of the troops, who arrived under the banner of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

In a statement, the government described the troops as “coalition forces” but did not say what countries were represented. Their mission was equally vague: “The GCC Peninsula Shield coalition forces arrived in the Kingdom of Bahrain today following recent events, to help protect the safety of citizens, residents and critical infrastructure,” it said.

The Saudi state news agency said its government had responded to Bahrain’s request for help in view of the importance of security there.

According to the state news agency of the United Arab Emirates, southwest of Bahrain, it too “decided to send a security force to keep the peace in the Kingdom of Bahrain” at that country’s request.

Anwar Mohammed Qerqash, the UAE minister for foreign affairs, described the move as part of his country’s responsibility within the Gulf Cooperation Council to bring “security and stability to the region.”

It was not clear how many foreign security troops had entered Bahrain. Various parts of the Bahraini government referred CNN questions to other government offices on Monday.

A witness said dozens of armored vehicles and buses full of soldiers crossed Monday afternoon from Saudi Arabia into Bahrain afternoon via the causeway linking the two countries.

The Gulf Cooperation Council comprises six Gulf states — Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar — and encourages cooperation among members in a number of areas, including the economy and security.

The movement of forces came on the same day that protesters seized control of a key part of the capital city of Manama, a Human Rights Watch official said.

About 100 demonstrators blocked access to the Bahrain Financial Harbour with barricades such as trash cans and cinderblocks, in effect shutting down the commercial district, Faraz Sanei said.

There was no police presence, he added.

“What we are witnessing in Manama is no peaceful protest,” Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid al-Khalifa said. “It’s wanton, gangster style takeover of people’s lives,” he said on Twitter.

A pro-government group of lawmakers was urging the king of Bahrain to impose martial law for three months in the wake of the protests.

The arrival of the troops followed a day of clashes between protesters and security forces that resulted in the hospitalization of more than 1,000 people, human rights activists said.

The protests were the latest in a series that has swept across the Arab world this year, toppling the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, but it was not clear that any other country had taken the step of calling in foreign troops for help.

“Temporarily, it should calm the situation,” said Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and energy policy program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He noted that the administration of Barack Obama has been urging political dialogue but said Monday’s move was not what the U.S. president meant.

“Sending in Saudi forces is hardly encouraging political dialogue,” Henderson said. “The great danger is, it will actually worsen the situation by encouraging Iran to get involved. Not militarily, probably, but certainly diplomatically and rhetorically.”

The underlying concern is that Iran, an overwhelmingly Shiite state, could seize the opportunity to meddle in Bahrain’s internal affairs. Bahrain has a Shiite majority population, but its rulers are Sunni.

Saudi Arabia’s eastern province is home not only to many of the country’s rich oil fields but to its largest concentration of minority Shiite as well. In recent weeks, Shiite demonstrators there have protested the Saudi government, whose leaders are overwhelmingly Sunni.

The Saudi government would presumably be concerned that any uprising by Shiite Muslims in Bahrain could inspire the Shiite population in nearby Saudi Arabia to follow suit.

Protests on Sunday appeared to have been among the most violent since last month, when police tried to clear the capital’s Pearl Roundabout, leaving seven people dead, according to demonstrators.

Most of Sunday’s injured suffered gas-related injuries, including burns and breathing problems, according to Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Doctors and nurses were among the injured. At least five people were in critical condition, and at least two people lost their eyes because of bullet injuries, he said.

Manama was sealed off Monday, journalists there said. The highway stretching from the Pearl Roundabout to the Bahrain Financial Harbour was blocked by trees and other debris.

The government denied accusations Sunday that unjustified force was used against protesters at the harbor, along a key highway and at Bahrain University.

Britain’s Foreign Office warned Sunday against all travel to the Gulf kingdom until further notice, saying, “The risk of further outbreaks of violence has increased.”

The nation’s Independent Bloc of lawmakers called on Bahrain security forces to intervene to protect national security and stability, the Bahrain News Agency reported Sunday. The bloc is composed of the 22 pro-government members of the lower house of the legislature.

“Extremist movements are resorting to escalation and sectarian mobilization, which led to an unprecedented disruption of security and hostile sectarian polarization at health and educational institutions,” the group said in a statement.

The members of parliament asked King Hamad to enforce a curfew and deploy security forces across the country.

During protests in the tiny island nation, moderates have been demanding a constitutional monarchy, and hardliners have called for the abolition of the royal family altogether.