Bahrain activists use Facebook to protest GP

26 April, 2011

SAKIR, BAHRAIN - MARCH 14: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing drives during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 14, 2010 in Sakir, Bahrain. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sebastian Vettel

Apr.26 (PVM) Hopes of the Bahrain Grand Prix taking place this year have received a blow as activists ramp up their efforts to have the Grand Prix canceled ahead of the 1 May deadline for the organisers to decide whether to go ahead with the race.

The Bahrain circuit tower. F1 Testing, Day Three, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Friday, 24 February 2007. DIGITAL IMAGE

In an open letter to Bernie Ecclestone, published on Facebook this past weekend, the author/s have asked that the Formula 1 supremo “consider the challenges to organize what should be a happy sporting event in the middle of a country under siege and martial law, surrounded by tanks and military forces, while the population is being reduce to silence, killed, tortured, etc….”

Bahrain International Circuit boss Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa said on 13 April, “We’re in constant contact with concerned authorities to reschedule the Bahrain Grand Prix. Now that security has prevailed and normal life has returned to Bahrain, we are stepping up contacts to host the race anew.”

But with conflict reportedly still taking place in the kingdom and a state-of-emergency in place, there is increasing opposition within the F1 fraternity to staging the race. However, teams have entrusted the FIA and Ecclestone with the final decision on the matter.

Letter as published on Facebook:

Dear Mr.Bernie Ecclestone,
President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration

Scene in a Bahrain hospital

We are addressing to you this open letter publicly regarding the organization of Bahrain Grand Prix, and we, citizen of Bahrain, and human rights supporters of the world, are asking you to consider the challenges to organize what should be a happy sporting event in the middle of a country under siege and martial law, surrounded by tanks and military forces, while the population is being reduce to silence, killed, tortured, etc….

Not mentioning the difficult climatic conditions, and the fact that organizing a motor sport festival in the middle of a despotic crackdown on the population, wouldn’t be well understood and accepted worldwide.

Also, in support of the population of Bahrain, we’re asking you reconsider hosting Grand Prix of Bahrain until basic human rights and freedom are restored, and, if you wish, to issue a letter stating that the Grand Prix cannot, and will not, be organized in Bahrain until basic human rights and freedom are restored, and the repression is over. With your permission, we will display this letter of support on Facebook and other networks to show the solidarity of the Formula 1 sporting industry with the democratic and freedom aspirations of the Bahraini people!

We thank you very much for your support and wish to see the Grand Prix in Bahrain soon, in a free and democratic atmosphere to which you would have contributed.

Sincerely yours,
Youth of 14 Feb Revaluation


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