Bahrain set for fresh protests on revolt anniversary

By REUTERS
February 14, 2012 12:52

MANAMA - Bahraini protesters dissatisfied with the government's reform moves prepared for a fresh attempt to retake a landmark roundabout on Tuesday, the first anniversary of a pro-democracy uprising crushed by the Gulf Arab kingdom.

Unrest among majority Shi'ite Muslims has revived, posing a sensitive new challenge to the Sunni Muslim ruling elite who have been an important strategic ally of the West by hosting the US Fifth Fleet to counter Shi'ite Iran across the Gulf.

The uprising broke out on Feb. 14, 2011 and mainly Shi'ite protesters occupied Pearl Roundabout in the capital Manama for a month before security forces broke up the movement, inspired by revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, and imposed martial law.

The roundabout, which had a giant concrete edifice featuring a pearl that was later taken down, was shut to traffic and remains that way, renamed as al-Farouq Junction, and under tight guard. That security was beefed up in recent days as opposition activists sought to reclaim the symbolically rich space.


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