bahrain bloody F1

 
 

Bahraini's fill streets with massive protest against Bloody Spectacle of F1

Massive demo held ahead of Formula 1 race in Bahrain
4 April, 2014 – PressTV

Tens of thousands of Bahraini protesters have staged an anti-regime demonstration ahead of a Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Persian Gulf country.

On Friday, around 200,000 men and women marched along 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) on a highway west of the capital Manama.

The demonstration had been organized by al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the country’s main opposition party.

The protesters, who were carrying national flags and posters, chanted pro-democracy slogans and called for the release of prisoners jailed during regime crackdown on protests.

“The people demand democracy and reject tyranny,” a poster read in Arabic and English.

Anti-regime protesters have held similar rallies every year since 2011. They say the Formula One governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), should cancel the event in Bahrain over the ongoing crackdown by the Al Khalifa regime against peaceful protests.

Rights activists also say that the Formula One event is used as a political tool by Manama to make the world believe that the situation in the country is normal.

On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested.

Physicians for Human Rights says doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have “evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces, and riot police” in the crackdown on anti-government protesters. …source


Bahrain's Bloody F1 – Promoting Police State Murder, Collective Punishment, Torture Frenzy

Staging the Bahrain Grand Prix is “a matter of life and death”
By Ahmed Ali – 3 April, 2014

Salah had been protesting the staging of the race when he was arrested. His body was found with multiple large bruises and numerous shotgun pellet wounds. His ribs were broken and dried blood covered his head and body.

The police officer responsible for his murder was acquitted last year.

On the day of Salah’s funeral, thousands of protesters poured onto the streets shouting anti-regime and anti-Formula One slogans. Journalists covering the protests were arrested, detained and deported from Bahrain.

Two days following the death of Salah, the UK’s Channel 4 news team was detained and deported from the country.

Sports and human rights had unified into a single cause for protest as the result of the brutal killing of Salah; the reputation of Formula One and motorsport in general was in tatters.

A year later, the race was back on despite the ever-deteriorating human rights situation. Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone assured media that it was safe for the race to take place in the country.

The Bahraini government racked up its public relations campaign to win over hesitant sponsors. …more


Bahrain's grand F1 race used to crush dissent

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Bahrain’s Grand Prix: another opportunity to stifle dissent
By: Chloé Benoist – 5 April, 2014

On Sunday night, Bahrain will celebrate its ten-year anniversary as a Formula One host country. The event has been touted as a moment of national pride and unity, but the glamor and rumbling motors of the race have become yet another sinister excuse to quash Bahraini dissent.

Under the slogan “UniF1ed,” Bahrain has turned the Grand Prix into a propaganda tool to burnish its image on the international stage as a peaceful modern country.

But this image is threatened by the reality of three years of state repression against dissent, which has killed close to 100 protesters and jailed hundreds of opposition members.

Formula One, one of the world’s most lucrative sports, has become a battleground between Bahraini activists seeking to raise international awareness of their plight and the government trying to silence them.

“Who benefits from the Formula One race? The ruling family,” Bahraini activist Nedal al-Salman told Al-Akhbar. “We want to show what is really happening.”

Since the cancellation of the Bahraini Grand Prix in 2011, in the early moments of the uprising, the monarchy has intensified its campaign to clamp down on protests every year ahead of the Formula One races, and 2014 seems to be no exception.

“Every year before the Formula One race, there is a huge crackdown on protesters, with arrests, collective punishment, house raids, injuries and even protesters being killed by the police,” Yousif al-al-Muhafda, head of the documentation unit of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said.

But this image is threatened by the reality of three years of state repression against dissent, which has killed close to 100 protesters and jailed hundreds of opposition members.
“They don’t allow protesters to go out in the streets so journalists can’t see them,” he added. “Some villages are even surrounded with barbed wire. The crackdown started in January this year, and we documented 500 people getting arrested since.”

Journalists have been barred from covering protests in the country in further efforts to strangle the opposition, said Salman, who is also involved with BCHR and helps journalists access opposition sources.

At least two journalists who cover Bahraini protests have been arrested in the past two months, the Committee to Protect Journalists said, who added that Bahrain has one of the highest number of incarcerated journalists per capita, second only to Eritrea. Three reporters have been killed since the beginning of the uprising, and numerous others have been injured or otherwise intimidated into silence.

“This year we’re a bit careful, because we are worried that we might be punished,” Salman said.

Meanwhile, Formula One’s president, Bernie Ecclestone, has played dumb in regards to the human rights violations in Bahrain. …more


Protest set during Bahrain's abuse enabling F1

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Bahrain opposition calls F1 Grand Prix protests
AFP – 1 April, 2014 – Times of India

DUBAI: Bahrain’s influential Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq and a more radical group have called separate rallies for Friday to protest the weekend staging of the Formula One Grand Prix in Manama.

Demonstrations have been held during the annual three-day Grand Prix event every year since 2011 by opponents of the ruling Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty in an attempt to highlight pro-reform demands.

The protests, which first erupted in the wake of a Shiite-led uprising in February 2011, have at times been marred by violence but the race has never been affected.

They are mainly staged in Shiite villages surrounding Manama and away from the Sakhir F1 circuit in the capital’s south.

The Bahrain Grand Prix practice sessions begin on Friday ahead of Sunday’s race.

Al-Wefaq in a Tuesday statement urged its supporters to hold a rally on the main Budaya highway, four kilometres (2.5 miles) west of Manama, which links several Shiite villages.

Al-Wefaq’s peaceful rallies are usually tolerated by the authorities and rarely end with clashes.

But protests by supporters of radical cyber-group the February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition are more violent and often end with clashes between police and demonstrators armed with petrol bombs.

The February 14 group, accused by authorities of links to Shiite-majority Iran, called on its Facebook page for demonstrations Friday in the Al-Seef Junction area, west of Manama, under the slogan: “Stop the blood formula.”

Protests in Shiite villages surrounding Manama began earlier this week, with witnesses reporting masked demonstrators staging rallies chanting: “No, no to Formula 1” and “Down Hamad,” in reference to the king.

The rallies have been broken up by police firing tear gas and sound grenades, with protesters hurling petrol bombs and throwing stones, according to witnesses.

Public security chief General Tariq Hasan said Tuesday the authorities have taken “all measures and plans” to secure the April 4-6 Formula One event.

Police will deploy around the Sakhir circuit and along main roads leading to it, the official BNA news agency quoted Hasan as saying.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Bahrain’s hosting of the event, the race will this year take place at night.

Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, remains deeply divided three years after the 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 began in February 2011. …source


MP, Kath Clark, Questions ‘FORMULA ONE: IMPLICATIONS IN BAHRAIN’

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BRITISH MP CHAIRS ‘FORMULA ONE: IMPLICATIONS IN BAHRAIN’ EVENT AT PORTCULLIS HOUSE
21 March, 2014 – BCHR

Labour MP, Katy Clark, today chaired and hosted the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy event at Portcullis House. The panel included Maryam Al-Khawaja, the acting president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Daniel Carey, a civil and human rights solicitor, and Nicholas McGeehan from Human Rights Watch.

Katy Clark took the opportunity to introduce a Early Day Motion 1194 which calls on the UK government to oppose the 2014 Formula One race in Bahrain “due to ongoing human rights violations.” The EDM also recalls concerns over the sexual abuse in custody of Rihanna al-Mousawi who was detained at the Bahrain Formula One track in 2013. It also recalls concerns over the extrajudicial killing of protester Salah Abbas during the race in 2012 by security forces. 25 MPs have signed the EDM to date.

http://youtu.be/l_Lw_WiQGj0

Human Rights Violations in Bahrain

Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Maryam al-Khawaja, began the discussion by highlighting the ongoing grave human rights violations in the country. She highlighted the dangers of the new Gulf Cooperation Council Security Agreement that “infringes upon the basic rights of all GCC citizens.” Ms. Khawaja furthermore highlighted the stringent environment and reprisals faced by human rights defenders in Bahrain and refuted the speech made by the Bahrain Foreign Minister in Geneva earlier this month noting:

“Bahrain uses terrorism as an explanation to justify the crackdown against individuals in the country, whilst attempting to convince F1 that it is safe to race in the country. Why are they hosting the F1 if there is terrorism in Bahrain? F1 would not go to Bahrain if that was the case.”

OECD Complaint Launched Against Formula One

Daniel Carey, who headed a legal team to file an OECD complaint to stop a 3 million shipment of tear gas canisters to Bahrain, took the opportunity to announce that an OECD complaint has been filed by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain against Formula One Management, sponsors and teams in the UK. The complaint alleges that the defendant organisations have not mitigated the human rights impact caused by their actions in the country. The complaint has been filed with the United Kingdom Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills in London, which is the UK’s National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines.

According to the 2011 OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, organisations have a responsibility to “… avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts and address such impacts when they occur.” Organizations falling under OECD jurisdiction additionally must “seek ways to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their business operations…” and “carry out human rights due diligence…” as appropriate to their involvement with abuses.

Mr. Carey also highlighted ’irresponsible statements’ made by Bernie Ecclestone in the past regarding the staging of the race in Bahrain. …more