Inspired by the regional Arab Spring, Bahrain's Shia majority started large protests against its Sunni rulers in early 2011. :162–3 The government initially allowed protests following a pre-dawn raid on protesters camped in Pearl Roundabout. :73–4, 88 A month later it requested security assistance from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries and declared a three-month state of emergency. :132–9 The government then launched a crackdown on the opposition that included conducting thousands of arrests and systematic torture.  Almost daily clashes between protesters and security forces led to dozens of deaths.  Protests, sometimes staged by opposition parties, were ongoing.  More than 80 civilians and 13 policemen have been killed as of March 2014[update].  According to Physicians for Human Rights, 34 of these deaths were related to government usage of tear gas originally manufactured by U. S. -based Federal Laboratories.  The lack of coverage by Arab media in the Persian Gulf, as compared to other Arab Spring uprisings, has sparked several controversies. Iran is alleged by United States and others to have a hand in the arming of Bahraini militants.