MANAMA, Bahrain, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- In an effort to stave off anti-government protests, Bahrain's king has paid $2,650 to every family "as a sign of appreciation," an official statement said.
"On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the National Action Charter and as a sign of appreciation for the people of Bahrain who have approved it, King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa has ordered 1,000 dinars ($2,650) to be paid to every Bahraini family," BNA, the country's official news agency, said.
Bahrainis approved a national charter in February 2001 that restored a parliament dissolved in 1975. However, in February 2002, Bahrain became a kingdom ruled by a constitutional monarchy, the Kuwait Times noted. Online activists have been calling for wage protests and demanding political, social and economic reforms, the Times said.
When anti-government protests erupted in Tunisia and Egypt, Bahrain's government announced measures to support food prices and assist families in need, the Times said.
Bahrain -- with a population of about 568,000 -- is considered the poorest among its oil-rich Persian Gulf neighbors, the newspaper said.