As drivers prepared for the Bahrain Grand Prix, parts of the desert kingdom looked more like a war zone and one protester was discovered dead. Colin Freeman reports.
By Colin Freeman, Manama, 21 April 2012
Built very much for strength rather than speed, they were not the kind of vehicles normally seen at the world’s premiere motor racing event. Stretched along the desert highway leading to the Bahrain’s Formula One race track were dozens of armoured personnel carriers - ready to use all means necessary to ensure the event went ahead.
Opposition vows “days of rage” during Formula One race
Alan Baldwin, Reuters, 21 April 2012
MANAMA - Crowds of masked protesters hurled petrol bombs at police who fired tear gas back in Bahrain on Saturday, turning the streets into a battle zone on the eve of a Formula One Grand Prix that demonstrators say glorifies a repressive government.
21 April 2012
People demonstrate outside Formula One headquarters in London, against the Bahrain Grand Prix. Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone declared the race would go ahead on Sunday despite ongoing anti-government demonstrations and escalating sectarian tensions in the country. (AFP PHOTO)
James Lawton, 21 April 2012
It had absolutely nothing to do with the multi-millionaire Mr. Bernie Ecclestone, of course. As far as he was concerned the ‘Arab Spring’ might be some new line in bedroom upholstery. The cash register could clatter as merrily in the tumultuous streets of Bahrain as any other place.
Associated Press, 21 April 2012
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — The discovery of a protester’s body near the scene of clashes on Saturday threatened to tip Bahrain deeper into unrest as a 14-month-old uprising overshadows the return of the Formula One Grand Prix to the strategic Gulf kingdom.
Bahrain’s Sunni rulers had pressed for the race to be held as a chance to rebuild their credibility on the world stage after it was called off last year as police and army troops cracked down on dissent.
In a SPIEGEL interview, Zainab al-Khawaja, the daughter of detained Bahraini protest leader Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, calls for this weekend’s Formula One race in the country to be cancelled. She says the protests in the Gulf state will continue until Bahrainis are given the right to “self-determination.”
Interview conducted by Souad Mekhennet, 20 April 2012
On Sunday, Formula One racing is set to return to Bahrain, but the country and opposition are divided over the event. Wefaq, the leading Shiite opposition group, has said it is not opposed to staging the race. Jasim Husain, a former member of parliament and representative of the group even visited the racetrack on Thursday to give the event a boost.
The action was taken to protest ongoing human rights abuses in the country.
By Jeff Goldman, 20 April 2012
Members of Anonymous recently took down the official Formula One Web site in advance of this weekend’s Grand Prix in Bahrain, and promised additional attacks in the coming days.
"The hacktivists are understood to have hit www.formula1.com with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, temporarily making it unavailable,” writes Digital Spy’s Andrew Laughlin.
17 April 2012
Human rights abuses are still going on in Bahrain leading to calls for this weekend’s Grand Prix to be cancelled, Amnesty International has said.
The campaign group has said security forces are still using excessive and unnecessary force against anti-government protesters.
Press Association, UK, 17 April 2012
Formula One chiefs have been urged by Labour to cancel this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix amid continued clashes between police and anti-government protesters.
Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said that proceeding with the event would “send the wrong signal”.
by Patrick Cockburn*, 16 April 2012
Double standards have notoriously marked Britain and America’s response to the Arab Spring. But nowhere is the hypocrisy more glaring than in their reactions to the uprisings in Bahrain and Syria, where both countries’ governments have used the full might of their security forces to crush peaceful protests and jail and torture their opponents.
When it comes to Syria, Barack Obama and David Cameron express shock at the government’s repression and are voluble in their demands for regime change. Until recently, military intervention was not being ruled out. Contrast this with the words of President Obama’s spokesman after clashes between protesters and security forces in Bahrain last week. The best he could do was a purportedly even-handed condemnation of violence “directed against police and government institutions” and “excessive force and indiscriminate use of tear gas against protesters” by the Bahrain security forces. Imagine what an uproar there would be if the White House had said the same about Libya or Syria.
Human rights are still being violated in Bahrain despite promises of reform, according to the campaign group Amnesty International.
16 April 2012
As the country prepares to host the Grand Prix, Amnesty warns “no-one should be under any illusions that the country’s human rights crisis is over”.
"Their reforms have only scratched the surface," said Amnesty’s Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
More than 40 people died in last year’s unrest and 1,600 were arrested.
By Saad Abedine, 17 April 2012
An opposition group called for a week of demonstrations ahead of Sunday’s Formula 1 Grand Prix race in Bahrain.
The Bahrain Youth Coalition, which has organized a number of anti-government protests, wants “popular days of overwhelming rage” after motorsport’s governing body elected last week to hold the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
Scoop Independent News
by Finian Cunningham, April 15, 2012
“A bunch of rich people having fun while others are being killed,” is how one motor-racing fan voiced his disgust over the decision for the Formula One Grand Prix to go ahead in Bahrain next weekend. For the past several weeks, there has been much speculation in the media about whether the sporting event watched by millions around the world would take place in Bahrain given the kingdom’s lethal crackdown on a pro-democracy movement since February 2011.