Uneasy calm in Manama on F1 race day

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Uneasy calm in Manama on F1 race day

Uneasy calm in Manama on F1 race day
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Tension and tight security marked the Bahraini capital Manama on Formula One race day.

Armoured vehicles and security personnel in riot gear lined the route to the Bahrain International Circuit.

In Shi’ite villages protests lasted into the early hours and a number of activists blocked roads with burning tyres as race time approached.

The opposition Wefaq party has named the man who was found dead on the roof of a building on Saturday as 37-year-old Salah Abbas Habib.

The party claim he was part of a group that clashed with police.

The mainly Shi’ite protesters blame the elite Sunni minority for treating them as second class citizens denying them basic rights such as access to housing, jobs and education.

Formula One opted to go ahead with the Grand Prix despite appeals from human rights groups.

The Grand Prix costs Bahrain 40 million dollars to stage and brings in 100,000 visitors who spend some 500 million dollars over the three days.

Opposition organisers say as many as 95 of their number have been arrested in night raids during the past week with 50 injured and one dead.