The tiny island kingdom of Bahrain has ended its government subsidies on meat and poultry products as countries across the Persian Gulf scramble to deal with low global oil prices.

The subsidies ended Thursday, sending prices up three to four times more than what they were. Bahraini parliament member Ahmed Qaradah told The Associated Press most butchers in Bahrain's central markets didn't open their shops in protest.

Bahrain's government hopes to save $200 million a year by ending the subsidies. However, locals appeared to be angry about the price hikes and the Shiite opposition group al-Wefaq criticized it as being only one of several "cosmetic solutions" proposed by the kingdom's rulers.

Bahrain has faced years of unrest as the country's Shiite majority demands greater rights from the Sunni-led monarchy.