• Bahrain rescheduling

Bahrain unrest continues on eve of FIA meeting

ESPNF1 Staff
June 2, 2011 « India happy to change date to accommodate Bahrain | »
Riot police vehicles move through the streets of the western Shiite Muslim village of Malkiya as anti-government protests were quelled on the day martial law was lifted in Bahrain © Press Association

On the eve of the decisive World Motor Sport Council meeting, Bahrain looked unlikely to return to the 2011 Formula One calendar as reports of continuing unrest continued to circulate.

Martial law in the kingdom ended on Wednesday, just two days before F1's governing body sits in Barcelona to consider a new race date for the postponed season opener. Bahrain officials insist they are now ready to host a grand prix, but F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone had warned in Monaco that the event will only take place "If there's peace".

As the state of emergency ended, overseas media organisations claimed there was still turmoil on the streets of Bahrain. Al Jazeera television said police used tear gas against continuing protesters, arresting and injuring several of them. "With the end of the emergency situation, the security should not be here but they still are," said an eyewitness.

Reuters said the interior ministry denied the reports, while the Bahrain Shura Council's deputy president Jamal Fakhro insisted Formula One can return. "The end of the national security law and announcement of dialogue are both positive. It will be a shame if anyone is negative about it," he said. "Bahrain will welcome F1, and any other event. There's nothing wrong with that because life is back to normal now and it will be excellent to have it back."