By Bruce TeamSport Latest clashes in Bahrain ahead of this weekend's F1 Grand Prix come after days of escalating tensions. Activists have demanded that F1 bosses cancel the race due to Bahrain's poor human rights record.
The race which was first run in Bahrain in 2004 was cancelled two years ago. In the unrest that followed more than 50 people died, hundreds were arrested and thousands dismissed from their jobs. Last year's race went ahead once Bernie Ecclestone and governing body FIA said they had been assured the kingdom was safe for F1 personnel. Even though there was an atmosphere of heightened security; one protester was shot dead by police. Also last year the Force India team members were forced to flee their vehicle on their way back from the track, as petrol bombs were hurled around them.The four mechanics in a 4x4 were caught in the middle of an incident as police clashed with protestors. The FIA and Formula One Management (FOM) said they "also strongly believe sport can often be a force for good and that the staging of the Grand Prix in Bahrain will come some way in helping soothe some of the issues which have been raised in the media". For the past two years members of the Shia majority have been protesting against alleged human rights abuses by the ruling Sunni minority. Here is a rundown of the events that have occurred in the run up to this weekend:
- On Sunday a car bomb blew up in the heart of the financial district in Manama, though without causing injuries.
- Officers stormed the Jabreya school for boys after students staged a protest demanding the release of a colleague arrested on Monday.
- On Tuesday, police fired tear gas and clashed with students in a raid on a secondary school in the capital, Manama.
- Protests were reported across the kingdom on Thursday night, with demonstrators chanting "No Formula on Bahrain's occupied land", according to AFP news agency.
- Protesters blocked roads with burning tyres and police responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
Last weekend's Chinese F1 Grand Prix went ahead smoothly, despite a history of equally poor human rights controversy. What do you think, should the FIA forfeit countries with civil unrest? Or should it be the drivers make the stand so that the FIA follows?