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Bernie unfazed by Bahrain protests

Monday 15-April-2013 09:09

Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed concerns over this week's Bahrain GP after pro-democracy protests threatened to overshadow the event for the third year running.

Ecclestone said he could see "no reason" why the race, which was cancelled in 2011 after an uprising but went ahead despite demonstrations last year, should not be a success.

"Yes. There's no reason why it shouldn't be (a success)," Ecclestone told AFP.

Last week, police fired tear-gas and sound bombs to disperse hundreds of people demonstrating against the grand prix, witnesses said.

The mainly Shiite opposition is organising a week of protests that began on Friday to coincide with the grand prix.

On Sunday, authorities in the resource-rich Gulf kingdom promised "appropriate security measures" for the race. "The security situation in Bahrain is very reassuring," a government spokeswoman said.

Bahrain "will ensure that appropriate security measures are taken during the F1 race and will take enough measures as in all other countries which host such international sporting events," she told the state news agency BNA.

Bahrain was not a hot topic of discussion at the Chinese Grand Prix, unlike last year when the subject dominated. And Ecclestone said he wasn't even aware of any current protests.

"What's happened? They're demonstrating now? I didn't know that," he said. "There's nobody demonstrating."

The 82-year-old was also unconcerned about a report from Human Rights Watch that police in the Gulf state have been rounding up pro-democracy activists in the run-up to the grand prix.

"No, they have their own politics and they are discussing this, I believe," Ecclestone said.

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