Political Riot in Bahrain Could Affect 2011 F1 Opener

The opening round of the 2011 Formula 1 championship, the Bahrain Grand Prix, might be in jeopardy due to the political turmoil in the country. According to local media, anti-government protesters in Bahrain might use the upcoming F1 event to make their cause public outside the country's borders and therefore affect the running of the race in mid-March.

Inspired by recent anti-government revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, thousands of Bahraini have begun protesting against their rulers lately, demanding a reform of the entire political class in the country. Clashes with police armed with tear gas and batons have happened in recent days, with some protesters (according to sources there are 3 of them so far) ending up being killed.

According to Nabeel Rajab, vice president of campaign group Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix might be viewed as a good chance for protesters to make waves in the international media, especially with the killings that have happened lately.

For sure F1 is not going to be peaceful this time,” argued Rajab in a recent interview with the Arabian Business. “There'll be lots of journalists, a lot of people looking and [the government] will react in a stupid manner as they did today and yesterday. And that will be bloody, but will be more publicized.

Given the victims within the Bahraini crowd, fears were raised that the protests will certainly not stop very soon. The last victim was a man killed at a funeral for another protester that had been killed in a previous clash with the police.

This will not stop, especially now when people died. I don't think it's going to stop easily,” warned Rajab.
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