Protesters spray paint a wall leading up to the 2012 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix pleading with F1 not to run the race. Credit:

F1: Protests Escalate Leading up to 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

Bahrain is a small island country located near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. There was a large uprising by the people of Bahrain back in 2011 and the protests have yet to cease. The government decided to crack down and many people have been killed. The F1 race there was cancelled in 2011 but they did return even with the protests in 2012. The people were outraged saying that F1 is supporting their government’s efforts to kill its own people. There were a few scary moments leading up to the race but nothing major happened and the race went off without incident but security was beefed up heavily.

This weekend, Formula 1 returns to Bahrain which has sparked new protests. An explosion was reported very close to the circuit but Bernie Ecclesonte pleaded ignorance to such an event saying “What’s happened? They’re demonstrating now? I didn’t know that. There’s nobody demonstrating.” Ecclestone told a British newspaper “We don’t want to see trouble. We don’t want to see people arguing and fighting about things we don’t understand, because we really don’t understand. We don’t want to see people repressed as a result of the race. Some people feel it’s our fault there are problems. We are extremely sympathetic to them.” Protests are happening more often as the race weekend nears and they are also getting more violent. Recently, police used tear gas on an uprising near a secondary school.

They are threatening to escalate the protests should the race go on and the Bahrain people aren’t the only ones warning F1 to call off the race. The infamous hacktivist group called Anonymous has issued warnings saying that they will put an end to Eccestone’s “little party.” The group also said “We call upon Bernie Ecclestone while there is still time — cancel your blood race now.” Like last year, security will be heightened at the track as tensions near a fever pitch.

There are plenty of other worthy tracks out there that don’t have all this chaos and I see no reason why F1’s leaders insist that they must race at Bahrain. Like a lot of things these days, the sport is run by money and money is what’s bringing them to Bahrain. I hope nothing happens this weekend and we can just move on to the next race but with Anonymous warning to intervene, who knows what they could do to disrupt the weekend’s activities without even leaving their homes. We’ll see what happens with the racing weekend less than three days away.

Tags: Bahrain Bernie Ecclestone Formula One Protests

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