Bahrain vows steps for security of F1

Bahrain vows steps for security of F1

- in All News, Archive

Bahrain “will ensure that appropriate security measures are taken during the F1 race and will take enough measures as in all other countries which host such international sporting events”, government spokeswoman Samir Rajab said.

“The security situation in Bahrain is very reassuring,” she said, quoted by state news agency BNA.

Her remarks came as witnesses said thousands of protesters took to the streets in Dair village near Manama international airport.

No clashes were reported.

Under the banner “Democracy is our right”, the mainly Shia opposition is organising a week of protests that began on Friday to coincide with the April 19-22 Grand Prix in Bahrain.

The major Shia opposition bloc Wefaq is planning a demonstration on April 19, as the event kicks off on the Sakhir circuit south of the capital.

On Saturday, clashes between protesters and police erupted as thousands demonstrated across several Shia villages, urging reforms.

Police fired buckshot and teargas, severely wounding a 14-year-old boy in the face, according to Wefaq, which warned that “escalation and violence by the regime against the people … demanding democracy will fail.”

The Shia bloc said yesterday that 98 people have been arrested so far this month and 31 others wounded in clashes with police.

According to Human Rights Watch, police have been rounding up pro-democracy activists in a bid to head off protests over the kingdom’s hosting of the Formula One.

Last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix went ahead against an ugly backdrop as police responded to protesters throwing petrol bombs by using teargas, sound bombs and birdshot.

Bahrain was rocked by month-long pro-democracy protests led by Shias in early 2011.

Protests have continued in Shia villages outside the capital. Human rights groups say a total of 80 people have been killed since February 2011.

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