Bahraini Police Must Protect Peaceful Demonstrators during Formula One Event
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today raised concerns that Bahraini police will attack, rather than protect peaceful protestors who are expected to demonstrate during this weekend’s Formula One racing event. The organization noted that, in past protests, Bahraini demonstrators have been met with excessive force and that organizers have an obligation to thwart a repeat of these abuses. “In the past year, the Bahraini police have proven time and again that their preferred response to peaceful demonstrators is brutality, arrest, and torture,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “Until the government addresses these issues, we remain concerned for the safety of protesters.” Since February of last year, the government of Bahrain has engaged in an ongoing crackdown on protestors, unfairly prosecuting protestors, including medics and educators, and torturing those in police custody. The police force is not trusted by Bahraini citizens, who often fear that going to the police for any reason will result in their prosecution. Human Rights First is concerned that there is no guarantee for the safety of protestors during the Formula One race; in the past they have been subjected to excessive force, beatings, and tear gas. “Until the government of Bahrain addresses the pervasive human rights abuses, the Formula One race will forever be associated with a brutal regime intent on violently attacking its own citizens,” concluded Dooley.