Bahrain. The year was marked by escalated contradictions
between the Sunni Muslim clan ruling the country and the
Shiite opposition, which represents a large portion of the
country's Shiite Muslim population. In the months before the
October 23 parliamentary elections, about twenty Shi'ite
Muslim activists were arrested, many of them members of the
Haq Movement for Freedom and Democracy, who believe the
Shiites are being discriminated against. The arrested were
charged with terrorist activities, treason and plans for a
coup d'etat. In the election, with a supplementary election
round on October 30, the Shi'a-based movement al-Wifaq took
home 18 out of 40 seats, which was more than before.
Bahrain has a population of 1.569 million (2018). The Qatar-based TV channel al-Jazira's broadcasts in
Bahrain was halted in May after several programs addressing
the widespread poverty in Bahrain and the difficult
situation of the guest workers.