Chronology: Bahrain

The Middle East Journal, Summer 2012 | Go to article overview
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Chronology: Bahrain


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Jan. 15: King Hamad bin 'Isa Al Khalifa announced constitutional reforms aimed at placating the opposition after a year of uprisings. The reforms, which emerged from the national dialogue that the King organized in 2011, would grant more oversight power to the elected Parliament, including the power to approve and dismiss cabinet members. Members of the opposition party Wifaq said that the reforms fell short of tackling the main problem - the imbalance of power between the Shi'a and Sunni in government. [NYT, 1/15]

Jan. 20: Thousands of demonstrators marched in Manama following the Friday sermon of Shaykh 'Isa Qassim, Bahrain's leading Shi'i cleric. Shaykh Qassim, known for moderation and nonviolence, took a more forceful stance toward the government of King Hamad, and in particular urged protesters to crush any security official who raised a hand against a woman. [BBC, 1/20]

Jan. 24: The US relocated its embassy officials to different parts of Bahrain due to unrest within the country. In addition, the US advised all Americans to not travel to Bahrain in the coming weeks as the one-year anniversary of the revolution approached. [Reuters, 1/24]

Jan. 25: The Constitutional Court of Bahrain ruled that the National Safety Act was constitutional, paving the way for the trials of protesters detained during the revolution. The act, which allowed defense forces to do anything necessary to ensure the safety of the country during the revolution, was implemented on March 15, 2011 and lifted on June 1, 2011. The government postponed the trials of protesters arrested during that three-month period pending the court's decision. [GN, 1/25]

Jan. 26: Bahraini officials released a statement confirming that Muhammad Ya'qub died in police custody, adding that the matter was under investigation. Opposition members maintained that the teenager was tortured while in detainment. Yaaqub was arrested for vandalism during widespread protests on January 25. [AJE, 1/26]

Jan. 30: Protesters and security forces clashed in the city of Sitra following the funeral of a teenager who died in police custody. Police investigators claimed that the teen, Mohammad Yaquub, died of sickle cell anemia, though opposition members maintained that he was tortured. [Reuters, 1/31]

Feb. 4: Protesters in Bahrain stepped up their demonstrations as the one-year anniversary of their rebellion approached on February 14. Small to moderate demonstrations occurred almost nightly and several of the traditionally peaceful protests turned violent as activists became frustrated with the government's lack of reform. [AJE, 2/4]

Feb. 7: Bahrain released two activists from jail as protests intensified. Fadheela Al Mubarak was imprisoned after listening to "revolutionary music," while Naser Al Raas, a Canadian citizen, was serving five years for illegal assembly.

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