Al Jazeera’s James Bays reports from Manama where many protesters say they won’t be attending any negotiations. They want the government removed.
On February 18 2011 the Guardian reported: ‘Five people are believed to have been killed and scores injured after Bahraini security forces raided thousands in a peaceful protest in Pearl Square in the early hours of Thursday morning.’
In Bahrain, thousands of people have returned to Pearl Roundabout, the centre of anti-regime protests and the scene of two separate attacks by security forces.
Live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas. Police and soldiers blocked the protesters with barbed wire, but later retreated and have left the area. The government says talks with opposition groups are under way.
Bahrain is a small island country with approximately 1,234,596 inhabitants (2010), located near the western shores of the Persian Gulf and ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family.
Security concerns exist if anarchy develops and extends to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain via the King Fahd Causeway, which was officially opened on 25 November 1986. Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The planned Qatar Bahrain Causeway will link Bahrain and Qatar as the longest fixed link in the world.
In 2008, Bahrain was named the world’s fastest growing financial center by the City of London’s Global Financial Centres Index. Bahrain’s banking and financial services sector, particularly Islamic banking, have benefited from the regional boom. In Bahrain, petroleum production and processing account for about 60% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP.