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Bahrain F1 to go ahead despite protests

A man has been found dead with gunshot wounds after overnight clashes.

A spectator watches from an empty stand during the third free practice ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir
A spectator watches from an empty stand during the third free practice ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir
Image: Hasan Jamali/AP/Press Association Images

Updated 12.01pm

A MAN’S BODY has been found in Bahrain and authorities have opened an investigation into his death.

Opposition groups say he was a protester shot dead during overnight clashes between demonstrators and security forces. The man’s body was found with gunshot wounds near the scene of the violence at Shakoura, according to the BBC.

The Ministry of the Interior confirmed the death in a tweet this morning:

The chief of public security later released the following statement:

The Chief of Public Security Major-General Tariq Al Hasan announced that the operations room received a call at 8:10am on Saturday regarding the body of a deceased person in a garden in Shakhura. The police and crime scene investigators immediately went to the scene and launched an investigation.

The death was determined to have happened under suspicious circumstances. The public prosecutor was immediately notified and the medical examiner was sent to the scene.

The name of the deceased is Salah Abbas Habib Musa, 36. The Chief said more details would be released as they become known. He reminded everyone, both journalists and the public, to wait for the facts to be established and not to believe unconfirmed reports on social media channels.

Anti-government activists have called for even bigger protests today ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix tomorrow.

Tensions are heightened across Bahrain as opposition groups use social media to encourage people to make the most of the global spotlight which the F1 race is providing.

Practice runs have started at the track in Sakhir this morning as thousands of protesters take to the streets. Armoured vehicles have been deployed in Manama after yesterday’s reports that police used teargas against youths throwing petrol bombs.

Opposition groups want protesters to voice their demands ahead of tomorrow’s race, which Formula One organisers say will not be cancelled despite pleas for it to be postponed until the government ends its rights abuses and enacts concrete reforms.

Bahrain’s Shiite majority claims it faces widespread discrimination at the hands of the Western-backed Sunni monarchy. At least 50 people have died in the unrest which began as part of the wider Arab Spring movement in February 2011.

Clashes between protesters and government forces were seen yesterday as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in a rally permitted by the government which wanted to avoid spontaneous street fights.

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Bahrain’s leaders vowed the race will be held tomorrow as it does not want to bow to opposition demands. Additional security forces have been deployed and checkpoints have been set up on the road to the circuit.

This image was submitted to TheJournal.ie this morning by a reader en route to the Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, the official Formula One website suffered from a denial-of-service attack carried out by hactivist group Anonymous.

“Formula 1 racing authority was well aware of the human rights situation in Bahrain and still chose to contribute to the regime’s oppression of civilians and will be punished,” read an online message from the group.
Formula1.com was unavailable to many users for some of the day Friday. Denial-of-service attacks work by overwhelming a website with bogus traffic.

Last year’s race was delayed but subsequently cancelled as a result of a deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

-Additional reporting by AP

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