U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with opposition groups in the island nation of Bahrain during his visit.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said that Kerry met with members of the country's civil society and opposition on Thursday afternoon.

Kirby said Kerry held the meeting to "hear the perspectives of these community leaders about the political situation in Bahrain, as well as their views on the scope of human rights, free expression and dissent in the kingdom."

Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, has seen low-level unrest since its crackdown on Arab Spring protests in 2011. Those protests saw Bahrain's Shiite majority demand more political rights and freedoms from the island's Sunni rulers.

Kerry's visit was the first by a top American diplomat since the protests.