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Thu 19 Apr 2012 10:51 AM

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F1 security not guaranteed - top Bahrain cop

Man responsible for Grand Prix security says police not afraid to use live ammo

F1 security not guaranteed - top Bahrain cop
John Yates, the former Met cop responsible for Bahrain F1 security.

Bahrain cannot guarantee the
safety of Formula One teams and spectators at this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix
amid escalating protests in the Gulf state, the former British police officer who
is managing security at the track has said.

John Yates warned the police
would retaliate with live rounds if necessary, he
told the UK's The Guardian, although he doubts this will be necessary.

“People say can we guarantee
security. Of course we can't guarantee security. I'd be a fool to sit here and
say that,” the former assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police said.

“Is it possible there might
be an incursion on the track? Of course there is. It's an open event. Can you
stop some idiot running onto the track? There have been other incidents of
track incursions,” he added.

“The police will have all
the options you would expect. If the opposition started firing live ammunition,
the police would respond with live," he said, adding: "But I don't
think that's likely.”

Yates’s admission comes as
tensions in the kingdom rise amid increasing demonstrations in the
capital Manama and outlying villages.

Last year’s Grand Prix race
had to be canceled following a bloody crackdown on protesters which left more
than 30 dead, prompting condemnation from human rights groups.

More demonstrations have
been called for in the week leading up the event, the
Gulf state's biggest sporting spectacle.

Formula One’s governing
body, FIA, confirmed last week that the race would be going ahead, despite
calls from activists for it to be canceled.

Nearly half of ArabianBusiness.com readers (49 percent) said they were strongly opposed to this
year’s race being allowed to go ahead, according to an online poll. Nearly one
third (32 percent) said the race should not be called off.

Just six percent of those
polled said they somewhat agreed with the FIA’s decision to allow the race to
go ahead as the security of participants and spectators cannot be guaranteed
while 13 percent said security would remain a major concern.

Zayed Alzayani, the chairman
of the Bahrain International Circuit, has said it is safe to race despite some
continued demonstrations. “You have some stuff going on in villages, but it’s
nothing that can't be handled,” he said. “I have no doubt at all that Formula
One is not a target, not the teams, not the media.”

The race is financially
important for Bahrain, he added. “The country has gone through a tough year, we
are still wounded in some aspects or another and we are on the way to regaining
our health, so to speak. I think the race will be positive to the country.”

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Ahmed 7 years ago

i am so glad the race is going ahead for the sake of bahrain and its people. a sporting event should not be brought in to politics. the people should understand they are part of a global community, and this race reflects that. i hope everything remains safe for the race and it works out to be a huge success for bahrain and its people. excellent job by the FIA to continue with the race and a lot of respect for people supporting the race.

Faris Khan 7 years ago

So John Yates is now backtracking from his earlier comments "I feel safer in Bahrain than London". Utter rubbish, what he should have said is "I am getting lots of money from Bahrain so I will say anything they want me to say" .

Patrick 7 years ago

If you are worried about attending F1 in Bahrain do not dare to go to the Olympics in London. Bahrain at the hight of the troubles is safer than any sporting event in London and at any other time is still safer than London.

procan 7 years ago

In Canada Wednesday,April 18, print media reported that Porsche has chose not to race in Bahrain with great regret.

Calvin Pinto 7 years ago

How is he backtracking? He, being a cop, is stating any form of disobedience will be dealt strictly.

Faris, you dont seem to be a sports fans. If you watch football league games(for example amongst all other sports even cricket) all over the world you will find all sorts of riots and hooliganism from fans .

And you are commenting from the UK, where sports hooliganism is one of the highest in the world.