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Bahrain: Protest group issues warning

NEWS STORY
09/04/2012

A protest group in Bahrain has issued a warning to F1's organisers, participants, sponsors and fans, urging that it cannot ensure their safety at next week's Grand Prix.

The February 14 Youth Coalition, a Bahraini youth group named after the date (in 2011) on which protests in the Gulf state first begun, is a youth movement which uses social media to organise.

Ahead of next week's race, it has used Facebook in order to issue a warning to the sport. It reads:

"The Khalifi system and the Saudi occupancy have been going so further and deep in their criminal and invalidity line. Where the shedding of incent blood and the filled prisons where the prisoners of conscious who demand of their right and self-determination. Moreover, the demolition of worship places and the continuation of murders and intimidation against Bahraini people and humanity. All that had been started last 14th Feb. and followed by all the observers of Bahraini news and revolution.

"On the based of revolution background which is escalated daily. Specially, with the deteriorating of the health status of the Dean of Jurists in the Arabic Gulf, Mr. Abdulhadi al-Khawaja after 75 days of a hunger strike inside the Khalifi system prisons. We are sending this message to all those people who are interested and observers and stakeholders and regulators Formula One (F1), and all corporate sponsors and contributors to these races. That , we are 14th Feb of Youth Coalition, we declare clearly that we do not assume responsibility for any reaction from the angry people and ensure the safety of anybody. Because the bloody Khalifi system has deliberately paying a huge amounts of money and establishing this tournament in order to cover up the heinous crimes. Thus, without paying attention to the safety of the participants and observers, in order to tell the world that hat the situation in Bahrain has been contained, and there no exist of the revolution and turbulence. Dispute of the fact, the evidence of the on going basis of the martyrs is the best guide."

A follow up message reads:

"In the conclusion, we advice and recommend those who on this tournament not be recklessness and arrogance. Therefore, it is our duty of humanitarian to announce our disclaim of any violent reactions. That may result, if the organizers insisted on Formula One , will provoke angry feelings of the Bahraini people. Establishing these races in an occupied country and live a popular revolution and severe disorders. As a result, the revelators will classed the participants, observers, regulators and sponsors to be included of the Khalifi bloody and criminal system. And to be responsible of the shedding of blood of the dedicated Bahraini people, the End.

"Peace be up on you and blessing and mercy of Allah."

The warning comes as the Times reports that some teams have issued personnel with two sets of travel arrangements for after this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, one for the trip onward to Bahrain, the other taking them back to their respective home bases. Intriguingly, this is remarkably similar to reports a couple of weeks back, and dismissed by the FIA, that plans are already in hand to announce the Bahrain event's cancellation over the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.

Meanwhile, as lawyers for the Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is on a hunger strike, and lawyers for twenty other opposition figures appeal their convictions on anti-state charges, the Gulf state's state airline, Gulf Air, title sponsor to the race, claims its Facebook page was hacked and defaced for "political purposes". It is claimed that amongst other things, the company's logo was replaced by a picture of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is now on the sixtieth day of his hunger strike.

Finally, the family of Ismail Hassan, the photojournalist shot whilst filming a protest outside Manama over a week ago, is still refusing to collect his body. Despite calls to collect the body, it is thought that they might leave it until the days before the Grand Prix, possibly as a means of generating maximum public attention and guaranteeing the maximum number of people on to the streets.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Hassan was the third journalist to be killed in Bahrain since the uprising began last year.

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