Bahrain Grand Prix to go ahead despite protest

Now Reading:

Bahrain Grand Prix to go ahead despite protest

Text size Aa Aa

Thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manama on Saturday, calling for the overthrow of Bahrain’s rulers and the cancellation of this weekend’s Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The promised “three days of rage” began with protests on Friday with one person reported killed.

Several taking part in Saturday’s protest carried photos of those detained or killed in more than a year of clashes with authorities.

One woman said: “I want to tell the Formula 1 drivers they have come to race at the expense of the blood of Bahraini people. The government is using them as political cover; they are not here for the sport.”

A small demonstration also took place in the UK, outside Formula 1’s offices in London.

Those gathered called on the drivers to boycott the race, saying their participation would give respectability to the Bahraini regime.

But in the Gulf Arab state opinion is divided. Away from the protests, many Bahrainis enjoyed a normal night out. When asked, some said the Grand Prix had nothing to do with politics and they were looking forward to the race.

Last year’s race was dropped because of political turmoil and activists say nothing has changed. But organisers rejected calls to cancel it again after receiving assurances from authorities there was no safety threat this time.