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Sat 12 Feb 2011 09:48 AM

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Bahrain's king gives out cash ahead of public protests

Rulers attempt to appease public ahead of protests planned for Feb 14, move follows Egypt political crisis

Bahrain's king gives out cash ahead of public protests
The policies the Bahraini government is considering should also aid in maintaining confidence in the kingdom’s real estate market

Bahrain's king has said he will give 1,000 dinars ($2,650) to each Bahraini family, the latest step that the Sunni rulers have taken to appease the majority Shi'ite public before protests planned next week.

Although most analysts do not see any immediate risk of revolt after popular uprisings toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, the small oil producer is considered the most vulnerable to unrest among Gulf Arab countries.

There have not been any street protests as revolt gripped Tunisia and Egypt, but the Bahraini government has made several concessions in recent weeks, such as higher social spending and offering to release some minors arrested during a security crackdown against some Shi'ite groups last August.

"To praise the tenth anniversary of the National Action Charter and in recognition of the people of Bahrain, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa will provide the amount of one thousand dinars for each family of Bahrain after adopting necessary legal procedures," a news report of the official Bahrain News Agency said.

Bahrain is one of the few Arab countries where the majority practices Shi'ite Islam. Tensions between the ruling family and the Shi'ite majority population are usually at a low boil, although there were some clashes ahead of election last October.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, is seen as a bulwark by its allies Saudi Arabia and the US against the regional influence of Shi'ite Iran.

Activists have called for protests on Feb 14, the tenth anniversary of Bahrain's constitution. It is not yet clear how widespread the protests will be, but analysts and diplomats say the Shi'ite opposition group Wefaq will be waiting to see how many concessions the government is prepared to make.

Although Bahrain has a parliamentary system, many Shi'ites feel elections have only served to co-opt them into the political system and did not improve their access to government jobs and services.

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Bu Ahmed 9 years ago

The protests referred to relates to the Sheiat who form 40% of the population of Bahrain. Out of which 50% are pro-government.
The cash which will be paid is for the 10th anniversary of the People which won 94.3% in 2001.
We as Muslim Sunnis believe that the Sheiat have no loyalty to either the country nor to the government. Their loyalty to the Grand Sheiat Mullas in Qum Iran.
The government of Bahrain as well as all GCC governments have given the Sheiat their full rights which some places were on the account of the Sunnis.

Mohammed Rasool 9 years ago

I think you should get your figures right, the Shia were 80% of the population with the current political nationalisation the number dropped down to 67%.
The National Referundum was won by 98.4% and 94.3%, but where is that referendum gone? The people have not voted for a new constitution nor have they voted for what they are in at the moment.
You beliefs are totally wrong, and you cannot question the loyalties of people based on their beliefs. Just as you have a right to live, they do. I as a shia do not have my loyalty to Qum or Iran.