continue to push for democratic reforms in the country, and police have stepped up a brutal crackdown ahead of the upcoming
. Last year, unrest forced
to cancel the race, but
, president and CEO of the series, has said that won't happen in 2012. Protestors have turned their ire against
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.
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.
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.