Opposition video in support of the "UAE Five", activists arrested and convicted for their dissent
The United Arab Emirates’ ruling families are beginning to be challenged directly by a few brave citizens, some of whom are even publicly calling for regime change. The unprecedented detention of dozens of political prisoners (along with a marked crackdown on civil society) highlights the government’s heaviest restrictions on free speech and the media in the region. Frustration among the educated class is growing — toward corruption, lavish spending on western-branded museums and universities, lack of transparency, and human rights abuses. Among the less educated (particularly those in the north), there is a widening wealth gap which is leading many to voice their discontent, and although the government embarked on a massive Saudi-style spending splurge in order to appease the national population in the wake of the Arab Spring, it has not been nearly enough—especially as concurrent political reforms have yet to manifest.