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Protests over Bahrain F1

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 02:04

April 19 - Anger and protests ahead of the Formula 1 race in Bahrain presented by the country's rulers as a unifying force. Paul Chapman reports.

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Amateur video purportedly shows protesters on the streets of Bahrain's capital in the run-up to Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix. The demonstrators are vowing to intensify their protests as race day approaches. They're demanding more democratic rights and the release of at least 60 Shi'ite protest leaders jailed in recent days. The campaigners say the round-up is an attempt to head off any major unrest before the controversial motor race. Khadija al Mousawi's husband, jailed for his role in leading early pro-democracy protests, has been on hunger strike for two months. She says Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone's missed a chance to help the pro-democracy movement. SOUNDBITE: KHADIJA AL-MOUSAWI, WIFE OF HUNGER STRIKER, SAYING (English): "What makes me angry, people like Ecclestone who decided to come to Bahrain because he thinks everyone is happy. I can assure him that I am not happy. My family is not happy." Bahrain's rulers are presenting the Formula One race as an event of national unity. Its international circuit boss is hitting back at critics. SOUNDBITE: BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT CHAIRMAN ZAYED AL ZAYANI SAYING (English): "Why are we worried here about a couple of thousand or a couple of hundred who go out, protest, and then go home. Or 20 of them decide to throw Molotov bombs. Why is it such a big deal? Look at the damage that happened in London in four days. It's not happening here, it's just that we have become the sexy topic all of a sudden." Bahrain's been in turmoil since a democracy movement erupted last year. It was initially crushed with the loss of dozens of lives. Since then police and protesters have clashed regularly. Amnesty International says it's now getting credible reports of torture despite promises of reform. Paul Chapman, Reuters

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Protests over Bahrain F1

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 02:04

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