محتجون بحرينيون يسيطرون على الميدان الرئيسي في المنامة Bahrain Protesters Take Control of Main Square
آلاف المتظاهرين بالمنامة يطالبون باستقالة الحكومة
Bahrain Takes the Stage With a Raucous Protest
By MICHAEL SLACKMAN
Al-Matrook was killed Tuesday as police tried to disperse people gathered for the funeral march of the first victim to die in the unrest. Both were Shiites, feeding the resentment in a community that represents 70 percent of Bahrain's 500,000 citizens but has long alleged systematic discrimination.A wave of arrests last year against Shiite activists touched off riots and protest marches. But authorities are moving ahead with a highly sensitive trial of 25 Shiites accused of plotting against the ruling system. The next court session is scheduled for Feb. 24.In the past week, Bahrain's rulers have tried to defuse calls for reform by promising nearly $2,700 for each family and pledging to loosen state controls on the media.Similar concessions have been made by leaders in the Gulf to try to pre-empt protests.In Oman, the ruling Sultan Qaboos Bin Said announced Wednesday an increase in the minimum monthly salary for private sector workers from 140 rials ($365) to 200 rials ($520). Last month, the sultan met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the growing political unrest in the Arab world.