Nabeel Rajab, vice-president of campaign group Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said on Tuesday that the race was being viewed as an opportunity for protesters to publicise their cause on a global scale.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“For sure F1 is not going to be peaceful this time,Ã¢â‚¬Â Rajab said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“There’ll be lots of journalists, a lot of people looking and [the government] will react in a stupid manner as they did today and yesterday. And that will be bloody, but will be more publicised.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Riot police have been out in force on the streets in Bahrain with tensions running high after a man was killed at a funeral being held for a protester who died in clashes with security forced on Monday.
Rajab added that the protests could go on for some time: Ã¢â‚¬Å“This will not stop, especially now when people have died. I don’t think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to stop easily.Ã¢â‚¬Â
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone admitted to the Daily Telegraph that the protestors could cause a problem, but said it was too early to say if, or how badly the race would be affected.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The danger is obvious isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it? If these people wanted to make a fuss and get worldwide recognition it would be bloody easy, wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it? You start making a problem on the start grid in Bahrain and it would get worldwide coverage,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Ecclestone.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have no idea. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to establish exactly what is going on.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As I say, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m speaking with the Crown Prince later on. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re watching events closely. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll rely on what they think the right thing to do is.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He a very realistic person. I have never had any problems in Bahrain in the past and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m happy to walk around town there. But we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know now. The world is changing.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Bahrain is also due to host the second round of the GP2 Asia Series this weekend, while F1Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s final pre-season test is scheduled to take place in Sakhir on 3 March ahead of the race 10 days later.
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