The detainees are suspected of attacking security forces and blocking roads during a wave of anti-government protests that rocked the kingdom in the Persian Gulf since late February.The arrests were made in Shiite villages in connection with alleged acts of violence, police said as cited by AFP. Law enforcers were still searching for other suspects.Six people were detained for alleged participation in a March 7 “terrorist attack” on police patrols in the village of Maqaba, west of the capital Manama, police said in a Saturday statement as cited by Bahrain News Agency (BNA).Two more people allegedly participated in attacking police “with firebombs and iron rods” in the village of Wadyan on the island of Sitra on March 28.Among other arrested were also people suspected of blocking roads and burning tyres near Bahrain International Airport on April 14.The police did not clarify when exactly arrests were made. According to Al-Wefaq – the main Shiite opposition group – 14 people were arrested during raids on Thursday and Friday, AFP cites on Sunday.Demonstrations – calling for democracy and an end to the monarchy – have been continuing in Bahrain for two years. Protests particularly intensified as the Gulf country was preparing to host the Formula 1 race on April 21. The protesters claimed the F1 event – that they labeled “race for blood” – overshadowed the ruling Bahraini Sunni royal family’s many human rights abuses and repression of the country’s Shiite population.Human rights groups have reported that at least 80 people have been killed and thousands arrested since the demonstrations began in 2011.One of the best-known cases of the Bahraini regime cracking down on opposition was the arrest of prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, who openly criticized the regime, following an interview on RT in Julian Assange’s show The World Tomorrow. In August 2012 Rajab was sentenced to three years in jail for “participation in an illegal assembly” and “calling for a march without prior notification.”Earlier in the week, the kingdom – which is home of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet – cancelled next month’s planned visit by the United Nations’ torture expert, citing delays in “ongoing national dialogue.””Let me be clear, this was a unilateral decision by the authorities,” Juan Mendez, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture said in a Wednesday statement. “This postponement could be perceived as if there was something to hide,” he added. His February trip to Bahrain was also blocked.According to Amnesty International, the latest cancellation “shows that Bahrain is clearly not serious about implementing human rights reforms.” “The authorities have used the buzzword of ‘reform’ as a smoke screen, when in reality they are not reforming,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, the human rights watchdog cited on its official website. …
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Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has taken his second win of the 2013 Formula 1 season with victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix this afternoon
Nico Rosberg, who started the race from pole position, was unable to match the pace of the cars immediately behind him, as Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Vettel both cruised past his Mercedes in the opening laps.
However, Alonso was forced into an early pit stop when the DRS panel on his rear wing jammed open, leaving the Spaniard without the overtaking aid for the rest of the Grand Prix.
Vettel, the reigning world champion opened up a comfortable lead at the front, while Paul di Resta moved into second in pursuit of his first podium in Formula 1.
Kimi Raikkonen lost places at the start of the race, but slowly worked his way through the field, before jumping ahead of Di Resta in the opening round of pitstops.
Five laps from the finish, Di Resta came under pressure from Raikkonen’s Lotus teammate Romain Grosjean, and the Frenchman powered past on the pit straight.
Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton battled hard in the closing stages for fifth place, while Sergio Perez and Alonso fought over seventh.
In the end Lewis Hamilton won the battle for fifth as Mark Webber slipped back to seventh behind Sergio Perez.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
Masked youths clashed with police, piling tires on to roads and setting them alight in Shiite villages surrounding the capital city, Manama, a witness told AFP news agency. During the night riot officers fired teargas into crowds of enraged protesters chanting against the race. However, in spite of protesters’ efforts, access to the Sakhir circuit to the south of the capital remains open. Tensions have been building over the last few weeks in the run up to the grand prix and have intensified over the last few days. The protesters claim the F1 event overshadows the ruling Bahraini Sunni royal family’s many human rights abuses and repression of the country’s Shiite population. Despite criticism of the event being included on the Formula 1 calendar, Bahrain’s leaders have assured the race will go off without a hitch. “Police are out in force to beef up security measures at the Bahrain International Circuit,” Bahrain’s public security chief, Major General Tariq Hassan, said in a statement. He added that they wanted to ensure a smooth race. Amnesty International has called the event a “show” to try and whitewash the human rights image of the country, “whilst stepping up repression in order to ensure nothing disturbs their public image.” Saeed Shehabi, a leading figure in Bahrain’s Freedom Movement said that in spite of regime attempts to exploit the race to legitimize their rule, the event will be a public relations disaster.“The people of Bahrain have made their point very clear,” he told RT. “They do not want the race to be exploited by a dictatorial regime to legitimize its existence.” He stressed that the future looks especially bleak for the country because the regime is not heeding the people’s calls for reform.“It reflects the reality that the regime is stupid. It is stupid because it is arresting human rights activists,” Shehabi told RT. Bahrain has also being criticized for attempting to curb international press coverage of the event. On Friday three journalists were asked to leave Bahrain for exercising media activities without obtaining a license from the competent authorities. The journalists maintain they had had all of the necessary documentation approved by the Bahraini authorities. The US, usually reluctant to openly criticize Bahrain’s regime, published a Department of State statement on the same days the journalists were ejected. It slammed the ruling Sunni government for “firing or attacking civilian and professional journalists; and proposing legislation to limit speech in print and social media.” The US Fifth Naval Fleet headquarters are stationed in the island nation. One of the best-known cases of the Bahraini regime putting a gag on human rights critics was the incarceration of activist Nabeel Rajab, who openly criticized the regime. Following an interview with Julian Assange on his RT show The World Tomorrow, Rajab was detained. His wife said he was thrown into solitary confinement almost immediately where he was subjected to inhumane conditions. …
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Thousands of protesters have blocked a motorway in Bahrain ahead of the Grand Prix on Sunday.
Carrying banners that say ‘don’t race on our blood’, they are calling on the Formula 1 bosses to cancel the race due to the poor human rights record of their government.
Burning tyres lit by protesters blocked roads, and police responded with tear gas. But there are no indications the event will be called off.
The race was cancelled two years ago during demonstrations which led to 50 deaths and hundreds of arrests.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
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