Offers of money and jobs were quickly rejected today by the leaders of Bahrain’s opposition movement, which insists that their protest is now entirely “about dignity and freedom,” and particularly in the wake of violent crackdowns on the Shi’ite demonstrators.
Initially the protests were more about discrimination in employment and political life, and such offers might have done something to calm the protesters at the start. Since the crackdowns began, however, the ouster of the king has become a key demand.
And not just the king, but the royal family in general, as shown today when thousands of protesters marched on the office of Sheik Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, the nation’s prime minister for the past 40 years and, not coincidentally, the king’s uncle. They are demanding the PM/uncle step down for corruption.
Though Bahrain is strong majority Shi’ite, the royal family is Sunni and has placed Sunnis in most of the key positions in the regime. The nation has seen protests sometimes making up a major portion of the island’s overall population, and has seen nearly half of its parliament, the entire Shi’ite opposition, resign in protest over the crackdowns.
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