Al-Wefaq plans protests in run-up to Bahrain F1 race

Shiite opposition group set to hold daily demonstrations following Formula 1 go-ahead
Al-Wefaq plans protests in run-up to Bahrain F1 race
The Al-Wefaq opposition in Bahrain.
By Andy Sambidge
Sun 15 Apr 2012 07:16 PM

Bahrain's Shiite opposition on Sunday announced a week of daily pro-democracy protests in the Gulf kingdom in the run-up to the Formula One Grand Prix race scheduled for next Sunday.

Al-Wefaq, Bahrain's largest Shiite bloc, said on its website it plans sit-ins and demonstrations under the banner of "steadfastness and challenge", AFP reported.

The protests will take place in Shiite villages on the outskirts of Manama, including one on Tuesday near Bahrain's International Airport, according to Al-Wefaq which has spearheaded calls for democratic reform.

AFP quoted Al-Wefaq as saying there were no plans for protests near the Sakhir circuit where the race will be held on April 22.

However, the "Revolution of February 14" youth group, whose members have repeatedly clashed with security forces, has called for "three days of rage" from April 20-22 to protest against the decision by motorsport chiefs to go ahead with the race.

Al-Wefaq leader Abdel Jalil Khalil told AFP the bloc would not try to prevent the race from happening but was organising the protests to "take advantage of this week's race to highlight our political and democratic demands."

On Friday, both F1 governing body the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone declared that the race would go ahead as scheduled.

US-based Human Rights Watch condemned the decision, claiming it would "obscure the seriousness of the country's human rights situation".

The race was cancelled last year in the wake of the Shiite-led uprising and the crackdown that followed.

For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.