Bahrain dictatorship’s tear gas Grand Prix

This video says about itself:

Oct 1, 2011

Abdulrazzaq Al-Saiedi, a senior researcher with Physicians for Human Rights in Boston, speaks to Al Jazeera about the conviction of Bahraini medical professionals for “anti-government crimes”.

From AFP news agency:

Friday April 12, 2013

Bahrain police tear-gas Formula One protesters

DUBAI: Bahraini police fired tear-gas and sound bombs to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who gathered outside the capital to protest against this month’s Formula One Grand Prix, witnesses said on Friday.

Thursday night’s demonstration in the village of Khamis, close to Manama, came as a report by Human Rights Watch that police have been rounding up pro-democracy activists in a bid to head off protests, stoked renewed controversy over the Gulf state’s hosting of the April 19-21 event.

“Your race is a crime,” the protesters chanted in reference to motor racing bosses who have insisted on keeping the Bahrain Grand Prix on the Formula One calendar, witnesses said.

“Down with Hamad,” they shouted in reference to the king, who heads a Sunni minority regime in the Shiite majority island state.

The people want the fall of the regime,” the demonstrators chanted, rallying cry of the Arab Spring revolts that rocked the region in 2011.

Bahrain was rocked by month-long pro-democracy protests led by the kingdom’s Shiite majority in early 2011 that were crushed with the help of Saudi-led troops.

Protests have continued in Shiite villages outside the capital. Human rights groups say a total of 80 people have been killed since February 2011.

Last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix went ahead against an ugly backdrop as police responded to protesters … by using tear gas, sound bombs and birdshot.

Former world champion Damon Hill has called on FIA president Jean Todt to take an ethical stance on the controversial event.

“I think Jean’s approach is say nothing because otherwise you are being political,” said Hill, who won the world title in 1996.

“I think that is a mistake because actually he is being political because he’s being used, or the sport is perceived as being used, by its engagement in the economy and the reputation of the country.”

A two-day conference at the University of Bahrain in the capital Manama last week was intended to show the United States and the region that the Bahraini government is making progress toward democratic governance and addressing the grievances of the country’s majority Shiite population. But the discussions were less than convincing because there was no empirical data or other direct evidence to support the participants’ claims: here.

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