Police clash with anti-F1 protesters in Bahrain

Police clash with anti-F1 protesters in Bahrain
Thu Apr 18, 2013 21:24:35

Bahrain security forces have clashed with people protesting against the scheduled Formula One race later this month in the kingdom.

Riot police fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades at protesters on Thursday and arrested at least six people who took to streets to denounce the decision of Formula One to go ahead with the race despite rights abuses by the kingdom's rulers.

Human Rights Watch accuses Formula One of "ignoring rights abuses", saying that security forces in Bahrain have "increased their repressive actions in the lead up to the 2013 race."

"The Formula One organizers apparently prefer to bury their heads in the sand, risking holding their race against repression it has provoked," said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW Middle East director on Thursday.

"Bahrain is already tightening the lid on protest as the Formula One race grows near," she added.

Bahraini opposition groups staged widespread 8-day protest rallies across the country under the slogan of “democracy is our right.”

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.

Bahrain was rocked by month-long pro-democracy protests in early 2011 that were crushed with the interference of Saudi Arabia.

Human rights groups say a total of 80 people have been killed in the unrest in Bahrain since February 2011.