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Bahrain Update

NEWS STORY
19/04/2012

Many stories about the Bahrain GP have appeared in the Formula One media. Here are some that you have to trawl the Internet to find.

Last Thursday, Amnesty International declared that conditions in the kingdom are worse than when the race was cancelled in 2011.

On Friday the International Business Times asked, 'Is Bahrain Really Safer Than London, John Yates?' and posted a video showing masked thugs wrecking a Shia shop while the police stood by and watched.

Also on Friday there were protests at the funeral of Ahmed Ismail Hussain, 22, the citizen journalist and motor racing fan, who was shot while filming a protest. The police responded with tear gas and live rounds. Several people were wounded and a 15-year old boy was shot in the stomach and is currently in intensive care.

On Saturday, Al-Wefaq, Bahrain's largest Shia bloc, announced a week of daily protests leading up to the Grand Prix.

Since then, a number of British MPs, from all main parties, have signed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons, urging that the Grand Prix be called off.

Bahraini police have arrested a number of Bahraini activists and bloggers, the figure is estimated to be between 60 and 80.

America's Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) has announced that it is 'among 50 organizations that have signed a joint letter to Bahrain's king calling for the release of bloggers, activists and human rights defenders and to drop all charges that violate the right to peaceful expression ahead of the Formula One motor racing event to be held in Manama on April 22.

'Among detainees is blogger Abduljalil Alsingace who has been imprisoned since March 2011 and was handed down a life sentence.'

Various news sources have reported that police used stun grenades to disperse a crowd at an exhibition about the Grand Prix. Like all other demonstrations it was mainly anti-government, but protesters shouted, 'Down, down, F1.' A huge billboard advertising the race was set on fire.

MRS, which runs a two-car team in the Porsche Supercup, one of the supporting races to the Grand Prix, has announced that will not travel to Bahrain. Team boss, Karsten Molitor said it was the first time that the team had missed a race. But 'In the end we have the responsibility to our employees.'

John Yates, a former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, now a consultant to the Bahraini police was quoted in The Guardian (18th April) has said that the government of Bahrain cannot guarantee the safety of Formula One teams and spectators.

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