Bahrain Security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades into crowds who were marching Monday commemorating two protesters killed in 1994. The Shiite protesters were chanting and moving through the traditional market district.
The question that has challenged Formula One over the last two years is the safety and reality of proceeding with the Grand Prix in that nation when protests and violence continues. In 2012, the FIA and FOM made the decision to race although protesters were making use of the media attention to deliver their message.
The Shiite-led protests are seeking a larger political voice in the Sunni-led government of Bahrain and while the politics and violence are high, Formula One has suggested that they are an apolitical organization and will most likely do so again in 2013.
The case for not racing in Bahrain is met with Twitter messages so thick it clogs timelines and the information, misinformation war is hard for average F1 fans to digest. Suffice to say, with protests still continuing, it doesn’t look like the issues will be solved come April 21st which is the date slated for the race.
Bahrain’s information affairs minister, Samira Rajab, told the BBC the Kingdom Nation was:
“suffering the toughest political crisis in its modern history”
While Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa has suggested that both sides need to sit together face-to-face and discuss moving forward. That meeting wouldn’t happen until the opposition party ceases violence and relinquishes its conditions for negotiation.
The opposition party says they would like US or UK to provide oversight to usher in democracy but Justice Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ali Al Khalifa said that no interference from foreign entities will be allowed in discussions.
Like 2011 and 2012, the 2013 grand prix will be a slippery slope for Formula One to negotiate. They can certianly claim safety from FIa visits and the apolitical stance but a nation that is “suffering the toughest political crisis in its modern history” doesn’t make for good commentary from the state while trying to host a race.