Bahrain protesters urge cancellation at Formula One HQ
Date: Saturday 21 April 2012
Time: 12.30 - 1.30pm
Address: Formula One HQ, 6 Princess Gate, London SW7 1QJ
Bahrain exiles and their British supporters will gather outside the London headquarters of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone this Saturday (tomorrow) at 12.30pm.
They are calling for this Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix to be cancelled, citing "the violent suppression of pro-democracy protesters" by the King of Bahrain. They have condemned Bernie Ecclestone's decision to "put profit-making before human rights."
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell will join the protest. He said:
"There should be no sport as usual, while the Bahraini regime is killing and torturing its own citizens. Holding the Grand Prix in Bahrain is collusion with tyranny. It gives the regime respectability. I urge British drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button take a stand against dictatorship by withdrawing from Sunday's race. It will be a tainted competition, steeped in shame and blood. There is a high risk that democracy protesters will be killed by the Bahraini security forces."
Founder of the Justice for Bahrain movement, Mohammed Sadiq, added:
"Hosting the Grand Prix is part of the King's bid to convince the world that the repression is over and the situation in Bahrain has returned to normal. It hasn't. There are daily human rights abuses perpetrated on peaceful protesters. It is a shocking, callous misjudgement by Bernie Ecclestone to proceed with the race at a time when pro-democracy campaigners are being arrested, beaten, jailed, tortured and killed. Holding the Grand Prix is a slap in the face to the victims of repression. Formula One bosses should be siding with Bahrain's democrats, not with the dictatorship."
Mr Tatchell added:
"If the duty to protect civilians applies in Syria, why not in Bahrain?
"Britain should be working with the rest of the international community to impose sanctions on the Bahrain regime.
"These sanctions should include a halt to arms sales and military cooperation, a travel ban and assets-freeze on top regime officials and a prohibition on the export to Bahrain of luxury items for the rich ruling elite.
"Bahrain's leaders should be referred to the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Council on charges of torture and crimes against humanity," he said.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has condemned the brutal tactics of the Bahraini regime as "shocking and illegal conduct."
According to a November 2011 report by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, 45 pro-democracy campaigners have been killed by the regime, 1,500 arrested, nearly 1,900 have suffered torture and ill-treatment. The arrested and abused include doctors and nurses who treated injured protesters.
Read the report in full here: http://bit.ly/w852m5
Even before the current wave of repression, Bahrain had a poor human rights record; having been previously criticised by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Amnesty International report: - http://tiny.cc/0lhbp
Human Rights Watch report: = http://tiny.cc/cgtfm