| MANAMA, April 20
MANAMA, April 20 Cancelling the Bahrain Formula
One Grand Prix on Sunday would only "empower extremists", the
country's Crown Prince told reporters on Friday, following
pro-democracy protesters' calls to mark the event with "days of
Speaking to the media at the Sakhir circuit, alongside
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and in front of television
crews broadcasting live to their countries, Crown Prince Salman
made clear that calls for the race to be scrapped would fall on
"I think cancelling the race just empowers extremists," he
The government aims to use the Grand Prix as a way of
showing that life is back to normal after a democracy movement
launched an Arab Spring-inspired uprising last year. The
protests were initially crushed, but were not stamped out, and
demonstrations and clashes are frequent.
"For those of us trying to navigate a way out of this
political problem, having the race allows us to build bridges
across communities, to get people working together. It allows us
to celebrate our nation. It is an idea that is positive, not one
that is divisive."
The Prince was speaking after two of the 12 teams said their
staff had seen protesters and petrol bombs on their way back
from the track to hotels in Manama.
The Force India team missed Friday's second practice for
safety reasons to make sure staff could get back to their hotels
safely before nightfall.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Will Waterman)