Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel may have won the Bahrain Grand Prix held last Sunday, but there was no winner in the main event; a human rights battle between the ruling Al Khalifa family and protesters on the streets over competing visions of Bahrain.
Masked protesters with petrol bombs and moltovs faced off nightly against riot police in armored vehicles, armed with batons, tear gas, sound bombs and guns firing birdshot. At least one protester was found dead on a rooftop after a clash.
Bahraini human right activists and protestors denounced the Grand Prix as a lavish stunt by a government that crushed Arab Spring protests last year and remains out of touch with popular demand for change.
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The government consistently blamed the activists for exaggerating the unrest and sabotaging the country’s image.
“In terms of the public relations battle it’s been a loss for government. But no one won overall – I think it has added to the existing divisions,” said Jane Kinninmont, an analyst at London’s Chatham House think tank.
“The opposition is angrier about deaths and beatings, while the pro-government camp is upset that the protesters hold up economic development and shocked at the media coverage.”
Below are few tweets summarizing
— Mohamed (@Almakna) April 22, 2012
— Nabeel Rajab (@NABEELRAJAB) April 20, 2012
— David F.K. Mpanga (@dfkm1970) April 20, 2012
— Nabeel Rajab (@NABEELRAJAB) April 24, 2012
Inputs from Reuters