Bahrain reforms the economy… but inequalities remain

Our reporters returned to Bahrain, nine years after the revolt that rocked the small country of the Gulf. Today, the spring of Bahrain is only a distant memory and the monarchy reacts to sporadic demonstrations with liberalism and economic development.

It may be the forgotten revolution of the Arab Spring. Bahrain is the smallest of the Arab States in the Persian Gulf, wedged between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In February 2011, in the aftermath of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, thousands of people gathered in the center of the capital Manama.

For several weeks, the Pearl roundabout became the center of the dispute as protesters demanded more democracy and social justice. The repression was immediate and violent, with the army and the police shooting the demonstrators.

Nine years after the spring of Bahrain appear only as a distant memory. The monument of the Pearl roundabout, symbol of the revolution, was demolished by the authorities. King Hamad is still in power, and in the face of protests that still break out sporadically, the monarchy responds to more liberal values ​​and economic development.

Bahrain is indeed becoming the latest hot spot in clubbing, finance and technology and Manama is now considered a land of opportunities. But yawning inequalities and deep social scars remain.

Our reporters Chloé Domat and Miyuki Droz Aramaki went to investigate in one of the most closed and secret countries in the region.