Bahrain's F-1 race sparks new round of protests

Wed Apr 17, 2013 13:38:06

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators in Bahrain have joined a march that included breakaway protests against the scheduled Formula One race later this month.

Bahrain is preparing to host the Formula One Grand Prix on April 19-21, while continuing to crack down on nation-wide anti-regime protests.


Over the past few days, thousands of Bahrainis have taken to the streets across the country to express opposition to the sporting event.


Bahrainis say Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, should cancel the event in Bahrain over the ongoing crackdown by the Al Khalifa regime on the peaceful protests.


Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, demanding political reform and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.


On April 10, Human Rights Watch said the Al Khalifa regime had arrested 20 opposition activists ahead of the formula One race.


“Bahraini authorities are carrying out home raids and arbitrarily detaining opposition protesters in advance of the Formula 1 Grand Prix,” the human rights body said.


Formula One is Bahrain’s premier international event. It was canceled in 2011 as a result of mass anti-regime protests in the country. However, the event went ahead in 2012 despite protests.

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