Bahrain’s King Hamed made partially good on his promise to release political prisoners today, with some 100 of the detainees freed. Local rights groups, however, complain that hundreds of others remain.
The move was the latest in a series of abortive efforts by the king to placate the growing protests against his rule, and once again failed miserably. Indeed, many of the protesters who were released went immediately back to the square, back to protesting.
The Bahrain protests began with some members of the Shi’ite majority complaining of discrimination by the Sunni ruling class and demanding reforms, and was met with fierce violence by the pro-US regime.
In the wake of the violence, the protests have grown to almost impossible levels, with a major portion of the nation’s population now in the streets demanding the ouster of the king, and the installation of a new democratic government in its place. There is considerable opposition to this in the international community (particularly from the US and Saudi Arabia), but the ability of the regime to control the situation, now that violence and bribery have both failed, is very much in doubt.