The Kingdom of Bahrain experienced its own Arab Spring. Since last year the country has experienced undercurrents of unrest but the ruling family have insisted that they are committed to change. This has meant that by and large Bahrain has fallen of the radar as far as reports on civil unrest. It does not mean that all is well in the kingdom of Bahrain though. Far from it.
As the Bahrain Grand Prix gets ready to begin unrest has violently flared yet again.The Bahrain authorities have responded in their usual heavy handed manner to any protests. Youths in some towns away from the capital regularly throw stones at the police who respond with tear gas.
In Manama the Bahraini capital the Grand Prix is due. Whilst the reigning Royal Family claim that it should go ahead their have been many concerns raised. The security and safety of the drivers and their teams must be guaranteed but is that possible? With more protests planned for today that seems unlikely. Protests in Manama are not unknown and can be violent.
UK PM David Cameron Has joined in the debate claiming that Bahrain is not Syria as justification for the race. That statement stems from the fact that the Bahrani rulers are allegedly instigating reform. A year after the Arab Spring though many people in Bahrain are asking, when?
Whilst many claim that holding the race currently in Bahrain is obscene for the protesters it once again brings the eyes of the world onto their plight. The Crown Prince wants the race to go ahead for his own agenda but in doing so it may help the cause of those wanting change. Should the worst happen and security for the race drivers be breached or a protester violently attacked or even killed the race will be political ammunition for the reformists.
Tags: Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain protests, Bahraini Crown Prince, arab spring, civil unrest, Bahrain protesters
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog