Civilian killed in F1 protest

A man has died in Bahrain following an F1 protest in the unsettled kingdom. 22-year-old Ahmed Ismael Abdulsamad was shot in the right thigh on Saturday as he filmed a protest in the Shia village of Salmabad that plainclothes security forces tried to break up with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Opposition groups blamed “militiamen” accompanying security forces, saying they fired live bullets at the protesters from a civilian car, hitting Abdulsamad. Police fired tear gas to disperse the small gatherings and made some arrests, according to footage taken by protesters..

Activists have intensified their campaign to push Formula One to cancel the Bahrain round of the world championship, slated for April 20-22 at the Sakhir circuit, southwest of Manama.

Last years Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled due to the unrest that gripped the Shiite-majority state after a mid-March brutal crackdown on protests demanding democratic reforms that would challenge the power of the Sunni Al-Khalifa ruling dynasty. This year, on Twitter, a whole campaign has been launched against the return of the Grand Prix to Bahrain.

“Stop, my blood is flowing” and “race over blood,” were two slogans posted by activists on Twitter, where hashtags like BloodyF1 and NoF1 generate scores of tweets.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has insisted that the outbreak of fresh violence will not affect this year’s grand prix.

Defending champion Sebastian Vettel and seven-time winner Michael Schumacher lately supported the return to Bahrain.

If you follow me on twitter, you will know that I am strongly opposed to the race going ahead, given the circumstances in the kingdom, especially the way the police forces are treating civilian protesters, and this further shows that the kingdom is not stable and not yet ready to stage a race.

The race is scheduled to take place on April 22nd.

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4 Comments

Filed under F1

4 responses to “Civilian killed in F1 protest

  1. Very well written piece Ben. Totally agree with you, I think F1 should stay away.
    Unfortunately it’s not as simple as that though. Given the amount of money Bahraini industry ploughs into F1 each year it would be a huge financial risk to miss the GP for the second time in as many years. However safety has to be paramount for the travelling party and with people being shot how can this safety be guaranteed, in a word, it can’t.

    • Yeah you’ve got a point and safety is paramount but one of the things that worries me is that if the race goes ahead as planned, It will be seen that we approve, or at least dont object, to what is happening there.

  2. Ger Sweeney

    Well argued and well written Ben…..Look forward to your race report!! 🙂

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