Bahraini police fired tear gas and arrested demonstrators Sunday in two Shiite villages as protests were mounted against the Formula One race to be held in the Gulf kingdom, activists said.
Dozens of young protesters gathered in the village of Abu Saiba, west of Manama, and Tubli, south of the capital, according to postings by the Coalition of the Youth of the February 14th Revolution on Facebook.
Police fired tear gas to disperse the small gatherings and made some arrests, according to provided footage.
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.
The race was cancelled last year 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.
“We (object to) holding a sports race that belittles the sacrifices of our children and ignores our suffering and wounds,” said a statement read by a youth dressed in a white death shroud and a black hood, according to a video posted online.
“Do not tarnish the reputation of the respected auto sport with the blood of Bahrain victims.”
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.
According to an independent probe, 35 people were killed in the unrest between mid-February and mid-March 2011.