Secretary of Defense Robert Gates picked a good time to make a surprise visit to Bahrain. His unannounced visit came as security forces and pro-government Sunni vigilantes used rubber bullets, sticks, and swords to beat back demonstrators marching toward the Royal Court in Riffa. The Bahraini monarchy has promised dialogue with the swelling ranks of demonstrators, but so far they've yet to follow through. Yet the U.S. has continued to back the Sunni royal family, to the consternation of the Shiite protesters. Gates is expected to try to prod the king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, and the crown prince, Sheik Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, toward beginning talks. Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, the monarchy was apparently successful in quelling the threatened “day of rage” protests, as no activists turned out in Riyadh. In Yemen, however, protests took a violent turn. Security forces raided a central square in the capital of Sanaa, demanding protesters abandon their encampment there, and then opening fire with live ammunition when they were resisted. Three people have been reported killed, including a 15-year-old student.