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Bahrain celebrates independence day

The Gulf island nation stopped being a British protectorate in 1971

The Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain is celebrating its 51st National Day on Friday, marking the island’s independence from the UK.

Bahrain had de facto been a British protectorate for more than a century before declaring its independence in 1971. The relevant treaty was signed between London and Manama on August 15 that year, but the island celebrates its National Day on December 16 when the withdrawal of UK troops was completed and Emir Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa ascended to the throne.

The Emir ruled until 1999, with locals crediting him for bringing stability and prosperity to the small, oil-rich state.

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His successor King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who himself is celebrating 20 years in power, has been receiving greetings from Bahraini officials and its neighboring states in the Gulf on the anniversary.

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Bahrain hailed for economic reforms

The UAE’s vice president and the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, took to Twitter to congratulate the “brotherly” nation of Bahrain on its continuing “march of prosperity, stability and glory.”

Bahrain’s government agencies reposted a message from the King on social media, in which he said the country of 1.5 million people had been moving forward “with love for challenge and love for achievement. Every year, Bahrain’s leadership, government and people progress in safety and prosperity.”

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To mark the occasion, the King has also pardoned 361 inmates, who had already served parts of their sentences, so they could “integrate [into] society anew and participate in the kingdom’s development march,” according to the Bahrain News Agency.

Schools, government offices and most businesses will remain closed in Bahrain on the day, with large-scale celebrations planned across the country. These will culminate in a major fireworks display at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, which annually hosts a Formula 1 Grand Prix.

December 16, 2022 at 01:39PM
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