Racing bodies OK with Bahrain Grand Prix

April 19, 2013 at 11:08 AM
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PARIS, April 19 (UPI) -- The Formula 1 race scheduled for this weekend in Bahrain should go ahead as planned, the sport's governing bodies said.

International human rights groups have voiced concerns ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix race in Sakhir, Bahrain.

The race was canceled in 2011 amid political unrest in Bahrain, which was swept up in the so-called Arab Spring demonstrations. More than 30 people died in violence tied to a Shiite-led uprising against the Sunni-led monarchy.

Last year's race went ahead after race authorities provided security pledges, though protesters threw gasoline bombs at race team members from India.

The International Automotive Federation, known by its French initials FIA, and Formula 1 Management issued a statement saying the race should go ahead.

"The local promoter and the national authorities have assured both the FIA and FOM that security, their responsibility, will be guaranteed for all participants to the Bahrain Grand Prix," the statement said.

Both organizations said they "strongly believe" the race event will help soothe underlying issues in Bahrain by acting as "a force for good."

Bahrain's government was criticized for taking what's considered to be a harsh line to its opponents. The government says it's committed to a series of reforms suggested by an independent inquiry probing events in 2011.

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