Abu Dhabi

Last Race: 23rd Nov Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi GP Results
Pos Driver
1 Lewis Hamilton
2 Felipe Massa
3 Valtteri Bottas

Peaceful protests in Bahrain

Friday 4th April 2014

Share:

Peaceful protests in Bahrain

Peaceful protests in Bahrain

Thousands of Shiite Muslims turned out peacefully Friday to call for political reforms in Bahrain, as practice began for this year's grand prix in the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom.

Demonstrations have been held during the event every year since 2011 by opponents of the ruling Al-Khalifa dynasty in an attempt to highlight the reform demands.

The influential Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq had called for a rally Friday on the main Budaya highway, four kilometres (2.5 miles) west of Manama, which links several Shiite villages.

Al-Wefaq leader Sheikh Ali Salman had urged supporters to protest "peacefully... and exploit the presence of (foreign) media attending the F1... so the world could hear the voice of the opposition and its demands and the oppression we suffer from in our country".

The gathering passed off without incident, as demonstrators waved Bahrain's red and white flag and chanted their demands while avoiding direct reference to the race, which runs through the weekend.

Clashes frequently erupt on the outskirts of Manama between security forces and protesters from the Shiite majority demanding that the Khalifas surrender their grip on all key cabinet posts in favour of an elected government.

On Thursday, police had deployed along a main road linking Manama to the Sakhir F1 circuit in the south, as more checkpoints were set up on roads leading to Shiite villages.

Following Friday's demonstration, Al-Wefaq issued a statement saying the security presence would simply "reinforce the people's determination to demand more democracy".

Al-Wefaq's peaceful rallies are usually tolerated by the authorities and rarely end in violence.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, remains deeply divided three years after a Shiite-led uprising was quashed, with persistent protests sparking clashes with police, scores of Shiites jailed on "terror" charges and reconciliation talks deadlocked.

The International Federation for Human Rights says at least 89 people have been killed in Bahrain since the uprising broke out in February 2011.

Vettel's Maiden Ferrari Run

Editor's Picks

Looking Forward To 2015

Looking Forward To 2015

There's only 87 days to the next grand prix in Melbourne, and already PF1 is looking forward to the season ahead...

McLaren Made Right Choice

McLaren Made Right Choice

McLaren have finally announced they are retaining Jenson Button for 2015. Here are ten reasons why they made the right choice...

PF1 Prediction Results

PF1 Prediction Results

The results are in and Frank Hopkinson turns into an oracle with his scary prediction about safety in F1...

Ten Best Drives Of 2014

Ten Best Drives Of 2014

Andrew Davies looks at the outstanding race performances this season, not always by drivers who made it onto the podium...

Ten Stupid Moments

Ten Stupid Moments

We've had our fair share of stupid moments in F1 this year and Andrew Davies has rounded up some of the best (or worst)...