Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015

Bahrain Shi'ites protest as Grand Prix practice begins

Published on Apr 5, 2014 1:17 AM

DUBAI (AFP) - Thousands of Shi'ite Muslims turned out peacefully Friday to call for political reforms in Bahrain, as practice began for this year's Formula 1 Grand Prix in the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom.

Demonstrations have been held during the event every year since 2011 by opponents of the ruling Al-Khalifa dynasty in an attempt to highlight the reform demands.

The influential Shi'ite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq had called for a rally Friday on the main Budaya highway, four kilometres west of Manama, which links several Shi'ite villages.

Al-Wefaq leader Sheikh Ali Salman had urged supporters to protest "peacefully... and exploit the presence of (foreign) media attending the F1... so the world could hear the voice of the opposition and its demands and the oppression we suffer from in our country".

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!