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Racing in the Blood of Bahrain

Bahrain Grand Prix - The Pit Stop

As I write this, the F1 teams are preparing to go ahead with their Grand Prix in Bahrain. The race begins at 1200 GMT with activists promising to try to disrupt it. From outside Bahrain, Anonymous is also going after Bahrain as seen in twitter comments at #OpBahrain.

Noting that the racetrack grounds were quite empty during practice and qualifying – “as bleak and lifeless as I have ever seen for a F1 Grand Prix” – Bmaz wrote over at Emptywheel:

Big money and the mighty US war machine are a potent combination and, between the two of them, are permitting the disgrace occurring this weekend in Bahrain.

Outside the racetrack, the streets and villages saw ever larger demonstrations and ever more violent repression by government forces. One demonstrator, Salah Abbas Habib, was discovered dead on a rooftop Saturday after being beaten by police and apparently shot with birdshot repeatedly. His funeral Sunday will coincide with the F1 race.

Over one hundred activists have been rounded up and held while the massive tear gassing of the villages continues unabated. (Mohammed Hussain, seen here in a Dan Rather Report on the actions of government forces in the villages, was beaten and arrested for his appearance but word has just come that he has been released.)

Zeinab AlKhawaja was arrested yesterday and continues to be held after sitting in on the highway to demand freedom for her father who has now entered his 74th day of hunger strike. She share the following news from her father in her AngryArabiya twitter feed:

Urgent: My father called now, he asked us to try and get him an urgent visit by his lawyer to write his will
He said, if they won’t allow the lawyer to see him, he has three things he would like everyone to know
1st: he is completely convinced in what he is doing, and that he has chosen this path & wud choose it again if time goes back
2nd: he asks that nobody attempts to go on a similar strike til death
Finally my father said “if I die, in the next 24 hrs, I ask the ppl to continue on path of peaceful resistance…”
My father has stopped drinking even water since yesterday
As my father finished saying his will to us, the line was cut. He did not say goodbye.

And then asked shortly before her own arrest:

What world do we live in, where the tire pressure matters more than the father of 5 being killed for demanding rights #Bahrain

UPDATE: The race is on.

Update: Reports that seven women who protested inside the Grand Prix track were arrested – see photos here.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com