In photos: Bahraini protesters take on Formula 1 Grand Prix
The text in Arabic reads, "Do not race over our blood." Photo posted to Twitter by Dr Ala'a Shehabi.
After several weeks of protests against the Formula 1 Grand Prix, scheduled to begin Sunday, Bahrain anti-government activists are ramping up their efforts to have the event cancelled by declaring “three days of rage”, from Friday to Sunday.
Their argument: Bahrain, which they accuse of human rights abuses, should not be granted the privilege of hosting a Grand Prix. Over the past few weeks, they have yelled anti-Grand Prix slogans during their frequent street protests and taken to social media networks to urge racing fans not to attend the event.
Protests have been getting increasingly violent over the past week. On Wednesday evening, protesters burned tyres in the capital’s main thoroughfares, blocking traffic. Thursday, protesters clashed with police in several of the kingdom’s Shiite villages.
Protests in Manama on Wednesday night.
Race car drivers from around the world began tests runs in Bahrain Friday morning. While the president of the drivers’ association has said he remains confident in organisers’ decision to go forward with the race, one driver, from the Force India team, has already dropped out after a Molotov cocktail nearly hit his car as he was driving to his hotel Thursday.
For over a year now, protesters have demanded reforms to the structure of the country’s government, which is ruled by a Sunni monarchy. The demonstrations have been led by Shiites, who constitute the majority of the country’s population. Street demonstrations have regularly turned into violent clashes between protesters and the police. Lately, protesters have also demonstrated against the jailing of a prominent human rights activist.
Protesters dress up as Formula 1 racers. Photo posted to Twitter by Ali.