Protesters in Bahrain continue to push for democratic reforms in the country, and police have stepped up a brutal crackdown ahead of the upcoming Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix. Last year, unrest forced F1 to cancel the race, but Bernie Ecclestone, president and CEO of the series, has said that won't happen in 2012. Protestors have turned their ire against F1 organizers, saying the race belittles the strife and sacrifices of those working toward democracy. In an attempt to quell the demonstrations, plainclothes police have reportedly responded with violence. Crowds have faced tear gas and rubber bullets as well as live rounds. At least one protestor died in the fray.

The movement has rallied around the death. Twitter has played host to a campaign to cancel the race with the hashtags #BloodyF1 and #NoF1 gaining popularity. One video commentator said, "Do not tarnish the reputation of the respected auto sport with the blood of Bahrain victims."

Bahrain is currently controlled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.

*UPDATE: As a point of clarification, Ahmed Ismael Abulsamed, the demonstrator who was shot and died of his injuries, was originally protesting for democratic reform, not against the F1 race.


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  • 36 Comments
      drsnodrift
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree...cancel the race once again...until there is some real stability in this country.
      Alex C
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bernie is honey badger. Honey badger don't care. Who cares if people die, Bernie needs his money.
      Autoblogist
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bernie won't get a clue until somebody kidnaps his golden boy Vettel.
      PhilG.
      • 2 Years Ago
      It turns out that entities in Bahrain may hold a majority stake in Mclaren International so the Formula One race will certainly go ahead unless mass unrest occurs. This could all change if a protestor wearing a Ferrari or F1 shirt was killed right in front of tv cameras. But Bernie defintely wants this race to go on because they make alot of money from Bahrains involvement in the sport.
      Ankit Mathur
      • 2 Years Ago
      This race needs to be cancelled for this year. I have every bit of faith in F1 to force Bernie to cancel. Bahrain will be back, just not this year. Sport is unifying I do agree with that fact, but F1 will come off as a bunch of rich people having fun while the country is in political tension. I don't think it will be good publicity for what truly is the greatest form of motorsport.
      AcidTonic
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nobody should ever have fun because every day somewhere out there *someone* has died and people are having a funeral. Why just why can't you respect them by being sad and living a miserable existence to make double sure you don't accidentally show your happiness to someone lacking it..... Stop all the fun right now and start mourning..... otherwise you're insensitive.
        Stix
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        You are the perfect example of a sad, miserable existence. You're not entitled to have fun when it's ruining the lives of people that are living under the brutal savageness of some ass-hat dictator. If F1 wants to continue holding races in Bahrain, even after all this controversy, they are more than happy to do so. And I am more than happy enough to tell Bernie, and the rest of his ilk to go suck a big, fat one.
          Alex C
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Stix
          IndyCar has produced better racing than F1 at this point. I've long abandoned F1 with the endless FIA meddling with rules and regulations (how about just going back to simple stuff that worked two decades ago?) trying to improve competition with the KERS and DRS nonsense. The fact that a quarter of the F1 field are only there because they bring sponsorship money helps to tarnish it's image, too. F1, the greatest drivers (and some who paid their way in) in the world.
        Go
        • 2 Years Ago
        @AcidTonic
        Yes, let's put your "fun" ahead of people being brutalized by a repressive dictator. Have you no conscience? No values? No integrity? I'm a huge F1 fan -- I never miss a race -- but the day "fun" trumps the lives of innocent men, women and children being murdered or denied justice by this dictatorship, the entire sport will lose. MASSIVELY.
      Rob Johnstone
      • 2 Years Ago
      I enjoy F1 as much as the next guy, but I'm fine with one race being cancelled because a country is going to hell. I have enough hobbies to not notice it. It's just asking for trouble while Bernie only cares about the lost $$$$.
      Bruce Reeves
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just say 'No' Bernie!
      Abdulla AlKhalfan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am a Bahrain citizen living in Bahrain at the moment. These "protestors" are not calling for reform, not calling for democracy, not calling for anything that's good. They torch the main roads with burning tires multiple times daily, kidnap innocent civilians, throw molotov cocktails on any random car on the highway. All they want is to cause chaos. they are being moved by their Shiite heads in order to overthrow the king, who has been nothing but nice to them. The F1 was cancelled last year for security reasons, its not gonna happen this year. They're all under control. Welcome back F1!
        RocketRed
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Abdulla AlKhalfan
        Nice try. We all know what "they're all under control" means. It means dead or in jail.
          Abdulla AlKhalfan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @RocketRed
          I bet all you you about the so called "revolution" in bahrain is from what you hear in the news, am i correct?
        k_m94
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Abdulla AlKhalfan
        **** you
      Go
      • 2 Years Ago
      This race could easily be the single biggest mistake in the history of Formula 1. When, during the race, security services arrive to brutalize protesters on live TV, perhaps causing MORE fatalities, the sport will be damaged beyond imagination. In the absence of good judgement by Ecclestone, the teams (or at least the drivers) MUST step up and boycott. For the sake of basic human rights, for an iota of justice AND for F1's future.
        Karl T
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Go
        Host networks run the cameras, but fairly certain FIA/F1 controls what images are broadcast.. Not positive.....
      Karl T
      • 2 Years Ago
      Advertisers need to pull out of the race. Hit Bernie in the only place where he'll notice.
        RocketRed
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Karl T
        Problem is, Bernie gets paid by the promotor. Promotor takes the risk of whatever else happens. That's the F1 model. Bernie takes no risk. The income from hoardings or tickets or or hot dogs is of no concern to him. Thus, Bernie couild give a rat's behind about what happens after he cashes his check, commercially or otherwise. The promotors, of course, are hell-bent to put on the race, because they want to be seen hanging out with a bunch of rich Europeans and as part of a global, cosmopolitan business. Because what kind of murderous despot hangs out with with Sir Branson, Eric Clapton, etc., at the FIA infield canteen? They are perfectly fine with paying the freight, and with putting as many people under the jails as necessary, to put the show on.
      Chris
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't under stand how a race in any way "belittles the strife and sacrifices of those working toward democracy". If anything, I would think it would actually do more in bringing attention to the problems they are up against, kind of like how the New Orleans Saints brought a lot of attention to the city of New Orleans trying to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Other examples are the 2001 New York Yankees' run to the World Series following the 9/11 attacks and the 1968 Detroit Tigers that helped unite a divided city that had been turned upside down during the 1967 race riots. Sports have a way of uniting people and spreading awareness of political and social issues, so I don't see what their issue is. In the short term, they are doing more than is necessary to draw attention to the things they are up against, and thereby isolating themselves from the world in the long run.
        Rob Johnstone
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Chris
        First of all, football and baseball are American pastimes. They are played by kids and adults everywhere with every 10 year old boy dreaming about going pro. Formula 1 has absolutely nothing to do with the average folks in Bahrain, it is there to entertain the wealthy upper class (although some could argue that football and baseball in America is going that way too, but it is still a sport of the common Joe). Second of all, the examples you provided are cases where the events took place during REBUILDING, this is more akin to holding an event DURING 9/11, LA riots or hurricane Katrina. The people here are not having their system be put back together, they are being killed right this second for their beliefs. By allowing the race to continue, you simply say "Yes, just sweep them under a rug so the TV crews don't see them". I do agree that the F1 issue is letting people see what is going on there, but the end goal of all this media attention should be a call to say "no" to the race.
          Chris
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rob Johnstone
          It's all how you look at it. Read my post again. I was questioning the protesters, not the people putting on the race. I agree that putting on a race in something that resembles a war zone is probably not appropriate. I agree with you on that. I was just suggesting that the actions of the protesters could be more of a detriment to their cause. And NO!! I was in no way suggesting those injustices should be "pushed under the rug", quite the opposite actually.
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