Police, protesters clash on eve of F1 contest

Manama, April 14:

Bahraini police and protesters clashed here as the Gulf Island prepared to play host to this year’s third leg of the F1 World Championship.

The clashes in Manama on Friday afternoon quickly spread to adjacent suburbs after police tried to prevent a rally called by 15 opposition figures protesting the alleged government moves to change the island’s demography via illegal naturalisation.

The motorsport action on the 5.4-km track in Bahrain started on Friday with two free practise sessions while as the race over 57 laps is on Sunday.

Protesters and police initially clashed in the capital, but the violence quickly spread to Shia suburbs with protesters hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at police who used tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse them. Several cars were damaged during the clashes, with each side accusing the other of intentionally causing the damages.

Clashes ended around midnight in the suburb of Sanabis amid conflicting reports of several rioting youth being detained.