Now less than three weeks before the island kingdom is scheduled to host its return to F1, bitter protests and violence have once again erupted in Bahrain.
Witnesses claim a 22-year-old man who was filming the firing of tear gas on protesters was shot and killed by state-supporting militia on Friday. The death – reportedly the first since last year’s troubles forced the cancellation of the 2011 race and test – intensified the clashes and calls for the forthcoming grand prix to be axed.
The government has denied it is responsible for the death.
“The ministry of interior will do all it can to find the criminal and bring him to justice,” a spokesman is quoted as saying by the Times of London.
The ministry also confirmed that Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, has been arrested.
He had said last week: “We are going to use the opportunities that a lot of journalists are there (for the grand prix) and we are going to protest everywhere.”
The protests, however, continued.
“We (object to) holding a sports race that belittles the sacrifices of our children and ignores our suffering and wounds,” said a video statement posted on the internet by a protester.
“Do not tarnish the reputation of the respected auto sport with the blood of Bahrain victims.”
And on Twitter, the hashtags #BloodyF1 and #noF1 are being used to protest against the race and link to graphic photos and videos purporting to depict government violence.