Bahrain plans quell protests ahead of Grand Prix

Bahrain plans quell protests ahead of Grand Prix
Thu Apr 3, 2014 21:46:29

Bahrain’s Al Khalifa regime has tightened security of the three-day Formula One Grand Prix to crush pro-democracy protests by the opposition groups trying to make their voice heard around the globe.

This year's Grand Prix kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday.

The country's opposition groups are planning to stage massive protests to seize world attention for their pro-reform demands.

Anti-regime protests have been held during the event every year since 2011 by pro-democracy demonstrators in an attempt to highlight those demands.

Regime’s security forces frequently attacks protesters demanding that the Khalifas loosen their grip on all key cabinet posts in favor of an elected government.

On Thursday, police deployed along a main road linking Manama to the Sakhir F1 circuit in the south, as more checkpoints were set up on roads.

The influential opposition bloc Al-Wefaq has called for a rally Friday on the main Budaya highway, four kilometres (2.5 miles) west of Manama.

Leader Sheikh Ali Salman has urged supporters to protest "peacefully... and exploit the presence of (foreign) media attending the F1... so the world could hear the voice of the opposition and its demands and the oppression we suffer from in our country."

Amnesty International has raised concerns of a crackdown ahead of the Grand Prix.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, remains deeply divided three years after the popular uprising was quashed, with scores of pro-democracy protesters jailed on "terror" charges and reconciliation talks deadlocked.

The International Federation for Human Rights says at least 89 people have been killed in Bahrain since the uprising began in February 2011.


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