Last summer sporadic protests began. By mid-February, major ones erupted. Demonstrators held firm against King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s regime. Repression and several deaths were reported from live fire.
Anti-government protesters occupied Manama’s Pearl Roundabout, Bahrain’s equivalent of Cairo’s Tahrir Square. They demanded democratic elections, ending sectarian discrimination favoring Sunnis over Shias, equitable distribution of the country’s oil wealth, and resignation of the king’s uncle, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, prime minister since 1971. They also want political prisoners released and state terror ended.
For weeks, many thousands defied government demands, braving police attacks with tear gas, beatings, rubber bullets, live fire, arrests, torture, and disappearances.