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Bahrain ( /bɑːˈrn/ ( About this sound listen) bar-AYN; Arabic: البحرين‎, romanizedal-Baḥrayn, IPA:  [al baħˈrajn], locally [æl baħˈreːn] ( About this sound listen)), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain (Arabic: مملكة البحرينMamlakat al-Baḥrayn), is a country in the Persian Gulf. The island nation comprises a small archipelago made up of 70 natural islands and an additional 33 artificial islands, centered around Bahrain Island which makes up around 83 percent of the country's landmass. The country is situated between the Qatari peninsula and the north eastern coast of Saudi Arabia to which it is connected by the 25-kilometre (16 mi) King Fahd Causeway. According to the 2020 census, Bahrain's population numbers 1,501,635 people, of which 712,362 are Bahraini nationals. At 760 square kilometres (290 sq mi) in size, it is the third-smallest nation in Asia after the Maldives and Singapore. The capital and largest city is Manama.

Bahrain is the site of the ancient Dilmun civilization. It has been famed since antiquity for its pearl fisheries, which were considered the best in the world into the 19th century. Bahrain was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam, during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad in 628 CE. Following a period of Arab rule, Bahrain was ruled by the Portuguese Empire from 1521 until 1602, following the conquest by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty. In 1783, the Bani Utbah clan captured Bahrain from Nasr Al-Madhkur and it has since been ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, with Ahmed al Fateh as Bahrain's first hakim.

In the late 1800s, following successive treaties with the British, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. In 1971, it declared independence. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared an Islamic constitutional monarchy in 2002.

In 2011, the country experienced protests inspired by the regional Arab Spring. Bahrain's ruling Al Khalifa royal family has been criticised for violating the human rights of groups including dissidents, political opposition figures, and its majority Shia Muslim population.

Bahrain developed the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf, the result of decades of investing in the banking and tourism sectors; many of the world's largest financial institutions have a presence in the country's capital. It consequently has a high Human Development Index and is recognised by the World Bank as a high-income economy. Bahrain is a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Arab League, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Gulf Cooperation Council. ( Full article...)

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Abdulhadi al-Khawaja taking part in a pro-democracy protest in February 2011

Abdulhadi Abdulla Hubail al-Khawaja ( Arabic: عبد الهادي عبد الله حبيل الخواجة‎) is a Bahraini political activist. On 22 June 2011, al-Khawaja and eight others were sentenced to life imprisonment following the suppression of pro-democracy protests against the Bahraini government. al-Khawaja has previously gone on a series of hunger strikes while serving his life sentence, in protest of the political conditions in Bahrain.

He is former president and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), a nonprofit non-governmental organisation which works to promote human rights in Bahrain. He has held a number of positions and played various roles in regional and international human rights organizations. ( Full article...)

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Muharraq Island (in the foreground), with Manama in the background

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Bahrain crackdown Nuwaidrat 14 feb. 2011.jpg

The Day of Rage ( Arabic: يوم الغضب‎, romanizedYawm al-Ghaḍab) is the name given by protesters in Bahrain to 14 February 2011, the first day of the national uprising as part of the Arab Spring. Inspired by successful uprisings in Egypt and in Tunisia, Bahraini youth organised protests using social-media websites. They appealed to the Bahraini people "to take to the streets on Monday 14 February in a peaceful and orderly manner". The day had a symbolic value, being the ninth and tenth anniversaries of the country's 2002 constitution and the National Action Charter respectively.

Some opposition parties supported the protests' plans, while others did not explicitly call for demonstration. However, they demanded deep reforms and changes similar to those by the youth. Before the start of protests, the cabinet of Bahrain had introduced a number of economic and political concessions. The protests started with a sit-in in solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 in the vicinity of the Egyptian embassy in the capital Manama ten days before the Day of Rage. On the eve of 14 February, security forces dispersed hundreds of protesters south of Manama. ( Full article...)

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