February 14, 2014, marks the third anniversary of large public demonstrations calling for democratic reforms in Bahrain, which the monarchy met with excessive force and thousands of arrests.
During three years of continued unrest, the country’s Shiite majority has won few concessions from the Sunni monarchy, which is strongly supported by neighboring Saudi Arabia and has received little criticism from the United States. Authorities continue to detain protesters who demand greater political freedom and inclusion, and courts have sentenced some of those arrested to long prison terms.
In January, Bahrain’s crown prince, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, held the first formal talks with the leaders of five opposition groups. Both the main Shiite opposition group, Al-Wefaq, and the government said they agreed to accelerate future talks.
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