In February 2011, mass pro-democracy protests were violently suppressed. Security forces killed and injured protesters. One of the main weapons used was tear gas. Physicians for Human Rights said its use was “unprecedented in the 100-year history of tear gas use against civilians”. In the following crackdown, hundreds of people were unjustly detained. Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners was “systematic.”
The government crackdown was supported by the Saudi Arabian National Guard. These forces entered Bahrain in March, in armoured vehicles made in the UK by BAE Systems.
Since then Bahrain has become “one of the Middle East’s most repressive states” according to Freedom House. Basic freedoms have been restricted, and political opposition has been dismantled.
Bahrain is also currently a member of the Saudi-led coalition involved in the war in Yemen. It supplies ground forces and takes part in bombing.