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Bahrain chief can not guarantee spectator safety at upcoming Grand Prix

Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa Al Khalifa does hope that the race plays a big role in uniting the Gulf kingdom, however.

Image: Hasan Jamali/AP/Press Association Images

THE SAFETY OF spectators at the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix can not be guaranteed, according to the president of the country’s Automobile Federation.

While Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa Al Khalifa hopes that the Middle Eastern country will emerge as a stronger nation in the wake of next month’s race, he also spoke about the ongoing anti-government protests – and subsequent deaths – that derailed last year’s Grand Prix.

“There are disturbances, and they are youths who need to be handled and led in a proper and right way,” Al Khalifa said.

“They need to know if they have concerns, problems, there are proper channels and procedures that can deal with them.

“They will not achieve their goals by disrupting the lives of family, friends, neighbours, or anybody who comes to the country.

“But then we’ve had these youths doing what they are doing since 2004.”

Al Khalifa, while not referring specifically to The Coalition Youth of the 14 Feb Revolution, did admit to a sinister section of the country’s population and their tendency towards violence.


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However, he hopes that the event will have a positive effect in unifying the Gulf kingdom.

“There is a small element of society that has unfortunately been shown a way to demonstrate in this form.

“Yes, the events of February 14 last year (the Day of Rage) inflamed matters, but we’ve never had an issue with Formula One, which has been visiting our country since 2004.

“People keep asking me about Bahrain, and I appreciate their apprehension, but anybody who has been there before and comes now will see there is no difference.

“It is why I’m hoping for the race to come as quickly as possible, just to let this community (in Formula One) see and feel what is really going on in Bahrain.

“I know all eyes are on us, but for me I feel there is a buzz going on in the country to rally around Formula One.

“So my message to Formula One is ‘be part of unifying my country’.

“We’ve had our share of trouble, people have made mistakes, but it is time to reconcile, to move on and come out stronger and more united.”

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