Bahrain Protesters Call for ‘Days of Rage’ as Grand Prix Nears

Posted April 20th, 2012 at 4:30 am (UTC-5)
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Security forces in Bahrain are trying to break up protests that flared up Thursday in villages surrounding the capital ahead of Sunday's Grand Prix race.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to push back protesters, as the Formula One race cars prepared to take to the race course for practice runs Friday. The French news agency says dozens of people were wounded when security forces resorted to using buckshot to break up the protests.

Anti-government groups are calling for “days of rage” as part of their more than year-long democracy movement. Previous protests have met with stiff resistance from government forces. Activists accuse the government of using the race to downplay dissent and make the world believe the political situation is calm.

Tensions mounted between government forces and opposition activists in Bahrain earlier this week, when a firebomb exploded near members of India's race team as police and protesters clashed near the capital, Manama.

Last year's race was postponed and later scrubbed because of demonstrations.

Protests led by Bahrain's Shi'ite majority have erupted on an almost daily basis since last year. Demonstrators have been demanding a greater role in the Sunni-led government.