Bahrain feels heavy weight of sectarian tension – Reuters Feature

A Reuters feature about the rising sectarian tensions in Bahrain.

“All people are doing is shouting slogans or using a bugle. But police are entering people’s houses and arresting them,” says one of the women, an unmarried government employee.

Bahrain has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protests, inspired by revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, took to the streets in February.

But a fight that started as an attempt to foster the Gulf region’s first real democracy now often looks more like a sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shi’ite, as well as a power struggle between the two powers who seek to champion them — Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The government invited Sunni neighbour Saudi Arabia to send troops to help crush the movement in March, saying the mostly Shi’ite protesters had sectarian motives and backing from Iran, but the island state has remained tense ever since.

Around 30 people died during the disturbances earlier this year, mostly Shi’ites protesters but also some police and Asian expatriates, but the figure has risen to around 40 in ongoing clashes in Shi’ite villages as government measures to calm the situation fall flat.

Read full article here: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/feature-bahrain-feels-heavy-weight-of-sectarian-tension

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