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Thousands in Bahrain held a peaceful anti-government protest to demand political reform and the release of political prisoners. The march was in a district populated by Bahrain's Shiite majority, which has dominated protests over the past year. Although the majority of the tiny Gulf state's population is Shiite, the government is dominated by the Sunni Islamic al-Khalifa family. During last year's Arab Spring revolutions, Shiites demonstrated against economic marginalisation and numerous other grievances. The authorities later launched a brutal crackdown. Soldiers were sent from Saudi Arabia to end the uprising, while America --- whose strategically vital Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain --- did not become involved.