Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Protests Spread to Bahrain

While the situation in Egypt remains uncertain, the protests have now spread to Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf.

If you are like me, dear reader, you could use a little reminder just WTF Bahrain is -

map image courtesy of wikimedia

Peaceful protests 2 days ago resulted in two protesters being shot to death by police, in what most are describing as a very heavy-handed response. The King of Bahrain has made a rare public appearance, and apologised for the deaths. The king also announced a one-time payment of approximately $2500 to each Bahraini. Can you imagine the US government doing this? The mind boggles...

This morning was the funeral for one of the protesters killed by police, and AJE's correspondent in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, estimated the crowd at upwards of 10,000 people. He went on to say that the crowd was angry and frustrated, but peaceful. Interestingly enough, the protesters seemed to be entirely loyal to the king, and simply unhappy with the current government.

Another interesting aspect of the situation is that Bahrain's population is 70% Shia, and only 30% Sunni. The AJE correspondent in Manama said that today's crowd was mostly Shia, with relatively few Sunni present. The Shia of Bahrain, as with the Shia of most Persian Gulf states, are the poor and disenfranchised.

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