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Bahrain: A kingdom in turmoil

Timeline on stalling national dialogue

Gulf News


February 14: Anti-government protests begins in the country inspired by the events in Egypt.

February 17: Bahrain riot police stormed through the Pearl Roundabout firing rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse. anti-regime protesters.

February 22: Tens of thousands of opposition supporters poured into downtown calling for reforms.

March 14: Contingent of Gulf troops arrive in Bahrain from Saudi Arabia to help Bahrain’s government.

March15: Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa issued a decree declaring a state of emergency for three months to suppress political uprising.

March 16: Bahrain imposed 12-hour curfew, banned gatherings, rallies, demonstrations. Security forces cleared Pearl Roundabout, the focal-point for anti-government protests.

March 18: Bahrain tears down Pearl roundabout

May 31: King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa asked the government and parliament to call for a dialogue to boost a national consensus on the ideal development for the kingdom without preconditions.

June 1: Bahrain lifts state of emergency.

June 22: Bahraini court sentences eight senior opposition leaders to life in prison for their alleged role in plotting to topple the political regime.

July 2: Bahrain’s national dialogue begins bringing more than 300 participants from various sectors which aims to help revive reform process.

July 8: Al Wefaq, largest opposition group, announces it will not participate in the “national dialogue” urged by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa.

July 17: Al Wefaq Islamic Society, the largest opposition society in Bahrain pulls out of the national dialogue.

July 28 : Proposed reforms submitted to Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa seek to strengthen the power of parliament’s lower house.

July 28: King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa sets up Bahrain International Commission of Inquiry.

Tens of thousands marched outside Bahrain’s capital Manama to protest against the results of a “National Dialogue” they said had failed to bring real democratic reform in the kingdom.

September 25: Low turn-out for by-elections to replace MPs from the Shiite opposition who quit parliament objecting to the crackdown on demonstrators.

November 23: Bahraini government accepts the findings of a comprehensive independent inquiry commission report from the Bahrain International Commission of Inquiry chaired by Mahmoud Sharif Bassiouni. The report highlighted the violations committed during the ten months unrest.


January 15: Bahrain’s lower chamber is to be given the right to accept or reject the government’s action programme under amendments to the constitution as stated by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa . He announced a series of amendments to the constitution that give the elected chamber new distinctive powers that “would broaden democracy in Bahrain”.

March 19: King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa called on all segments of Bahraini society to “assume their national responsibility and help the country move past the events that hit it last year.”

October 30: Government bans all protests, threatening legal action against anyone who attempted to organise a rally or demonstration.


January 21: Bahrain’s King invites political groups to restart stalled talks to break the political deadlock.

February10: New talks have brought together a coalition of six opposition societies, a coalition of ten other societies, the parliament and the government to help heal political wounds that scarred the country and divided the society. Al Wefaq confirmed its attendance to the first session.

March 12: The leader of Bahrain’s main opposition bloc said there was no guarantee that appointing a reformist crown prince to the cabinet would lead to change.

March 16: Bahrain’s national dialogue resumes after weekend clashes. It raises concerns that the dialogue is turning into a maelstrom of deep mistrust.

March 29: Bahraini police use tear gas and sound bombs to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters who took to the streets of Manama which came after Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group, Al Wefaq, warned of fresh protests across the kingdom unless a national dialogue with the regime leads to real reforms, namely, a constitutional monarchy.

March 31: A preliminary agenda for the national dialogue in Bahrain has taken shape after participants agreed its major sections and principles.

May 13: Al Asala society, the exclusive expression of Salafism in the island kingdom pulls out of a coalition of ten formations taking part in a national dialogue.

August 28: Bahrain national dialogue resumes after Ramadan break.

September 5: Session is cancelled after opposition’s boycott.

— Compiled by Gulf News Archives