Bahrain reforms the economy... but inequalities remain

By: Miyuki DROZ | Chloé DOMAT
19 min

Our reporters returned to Bahrain, nine years after the revolt that rocked the tiny Gulf country. Today, the Bahrain Spring is just a distant memory and the monarchy responds to sporadic demonstrations with liberalism and economic development.


It is perhaps the forgotten revolution of the Arab Spring. Bahrain is the smallest of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, wedged between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In February 2011, in the aftermath of uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, thousands of people gathered in the centre of the capital Manama. For several weeks, the Pearl roundabout became the focus of the dispute as protesters demanded more democracy and social justice. The repression was immediate and violent, as the army and police fired on the demonstrators. 

Nine years on the Bahrain Spring appears just a distant memory. The monument on Pearl roundabout, symbol of the revolution, was pulled down by the authorities. King Hamad is still in power, and in the face of the demonstrations that still spring up sporadically, the monarchy responds to more liberal values and economic development. Bahrain is indeed becoming the latest hot spot for clubbing, finance and technology and Manama is now seen as a land of opportunity. But gaping inequalities and deep social scars remain. 

Our reporters Chloé Domat and Miyuki Droz Aramaki went to investigate in one of the most closed and secretive country in the region.


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