Continued from page 1

Security forces Tuesday fired tear gas into a high school to break up a protest of students demonstrating against the detention of a classmate overnight.

Last year, there were no problems during the race. But it was overshadowed by huge anti-government protests and a firebomb that briefly delayed a Force India car and prompted the team to pull out of the second practice.

Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion, has demanded that FIA president Jean Todt take a stance on Bahrain hosting the race.

“He’s not said anything that has distanced the sport from things that it would find distasteful and upsetting, which I believe everybody in the sport would actually like to do,” Hill told British reporters in Shanghai last week.

“I think the vast majority of the people in Formula One would like to say `We don’t want to come here to make things worse for people,’” he said. “`We would like you to enjoy Formula One, we think Formula One has lots of positive things to offer, but please don’t, on our behalf, round up people and brutalize them.’”

Sadiq Yousef, 44, said he joined the protest after his family was injured.

“Our message to the world is to say you are racing on our blood,” Yousef said. “Before, I was not protesting. But after my wife and daughter were attacked, I realized the regime was starting to treat us like slaves.”

Most protesters seemed to be resigned that the race would go on but were hopeful that it will shed light and revive interest in a conflict that has largely been overshadowed by the civil war in Syria and post-revolution unrest in Egypt.

“We are demanding democracy. It is our right,” said Hussain al-Ghanmi, another protester. “We will keep marching in the streets until our voices are heard around the world. I think the international community will support our demands because we are demanding our rights.”


Associated Press Writer Reem Khalifa contributed to this report from Manama, Bahrain.


Follow Michael Casey on Twitter at