Political dissidents were rounded up at gunpoint in midnight raids and police armed with shot-guns stood outside Manama's main hospital, amid reports the authorities were beating doctors and denying treatment to the wounded.
UN rights chief Navi Pillay said any takeover by the security forces of hospitals and medical facilities was "a blatant violation of international law."
"Governments are obliged to protect the rights to life and health of the people, but we are hearing very credible reports indicating that they are in fact obstructing access to such rights," she said.
"There are reports of arbitrary arrests, killings, beatings of protesters and of medical personnel, and of the takeover of hospitals and medical centres by various security forces.
"This is shocking and illegal conduct."
Five hardline Shiite activists and one Sunni were arrested during the night, a parliamentarian from the Shiite opposition alliance said, after a day of violence which left five dead in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.
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