Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wrong Formula: Bahrain races ahead with Formula One, but reverses on reform

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012   No comments

THE Bahrain Grand Prix is back. Across the tiny island kingdom, posters trumpet joy at the return of the Formula One race: “UniF1ed: One Nation in Celebration”. But although cars, crews and cameras have indeed arrived for the event from April 20th to 22nd, the slogan rings hollow. A year on from an uprising against Bahrain’s ruling family that prompted a brutally efficient military crackdown, more than 50 deaths and the cancellation of last year’s race, the atmosphere in Bahrain remains poisonous.

Activists have gleefully torched posters for the race, and vow to disrupt it however they can. Government troops, tanks and armoured cars are enforcing a forbidding cordon around the desert circuit. Night after night, riot vans sweep into villages on the outskirts of the capital, Manama. Activist ringleaders are dragged from their homes, beaten in front of their families and carted off.


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