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Scores of Activists arrested in lead-up to Bahrain F1

HRW: Bahrain Arrests 20 Activists Ahead of Grand Prix
10 April, 2013 – By Dean Walsh – World News Curator

Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed on Wednesday that police in Bahrain have arrested 20 opposition activists from towns surrounding the country’s Formula One circuit, ahead of the international Grand Prix event on April 21st.

The government of Bahrain has refuted the allegations.

Pro-democracy protests linked to the ‘Arab Spring’ movement first started in Bahrain near the beginning of 2011. The initial protests were quelled by security forces after the government declared a state of martial law, which lasted until June 2011. Since then there have been regular protests, many of which have ended in clashes between police and protesters. There have also been many allegations of government oppression from international groups such as HRW.

Bahrain is rules by A Sunni royal family, but has a majority Shi’ite population. Many Shi’ites claim that they are actively discriminated against by the state.

A statement from HRW claims that the 20 activists were detained without a warrant, with the intention of preventing protests from taking place during the Grand Prix. Protesters gained widespread global media attention during last year’s Grand Prix as images of violent clashes between protesters and police were beamed around the world.

Information Minister Sameera Rajab denied the allegations, insisting that nobody could be arrested in Bahrain without a warrant. “This doesn’t happen in Bahrain. If there is any action against peace and security, it must be dealt with according to law,” he said.

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