Bahraini protestors clash with riot police following an anti-regime protest in the village of Sanabis, on April 13, 2013
Bahraini protestors clash with riot police following an anti-regime protest in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama, on April 13, 2013. Bahrain vowed on Sunday to take "appropriate" security measures for its Formula One race, as thousands of demonstrators kept up daily protests. © Mohammed al-Shaikh - AFP
Bahraini protestors clash with riot police following an anti-regime protest in the village of Sanabis, on April 13, 2013
AFP
Last updated: April 14, 2013

Bahrain vows "appropriate" security for F1

Bahrain vowed on Sunday to take "appropriate" security measures for its Formula One race, as thousands of demonstrators kept up daily protests.

Bahrain "will ensure that appropriate security measures are taken during the F1 race and will take enough measures as in all other countries which host such international sporting events," government spokeswoman Samir Rajab said.

"The security situation in Bahrain is very reassuring," she said, quoted by state news agency BNA.

Her remarks came as witnesses said thousands took to the streets in Dair village near Manama international airport demanding the ouster of the government -- led for decades by the monarch's uncle Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa.

"Sooner or later the people will achieve victory," the protesters chanted. "Down with the government" and "Resign Khalifa."

No clashes were reported.

Under the banner "Democracy is our right," the mainly Shiite opposition is organising a week of protests that began on Friday to coincide with the April 19-22 Grand Prix in Bahrain.

The major Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq is planning a demonstration on April 19, as the event kicks off on the Sakhir circuit south of the capital.

On Saturday, clashes between protesters and police erupted as thousands demonstrated across several Shiite villages, urging reforms.

Police fired buckshot and tear gas, severely wounding a 14-year-old boy in the face, according to Al-Wefaq, which warned that "escalation and violence by the regime against the people ... demanding democracy will fail."

The Shiite bloc said on Sunday that 98 people have been arrested so far this month and 31 others wounded in clashes with police.

According to Human Rights Watch, police have been rounding up pro-democracy activists in bid to head off protests over the Gulf state's hosting of the Formula One.

Last year's Bahrain Grand Prix went ahead against an ugly backdrop as police responded to protesters throwing petrol bombs by using tear gas, sound bombs and birdshot.

Bahrain was rocked by month-long pro-democracy protests led by the kingdom's Shiite majority in early 2011 that were crushed with the help of Saudi-led troops.

Protests have continued in Shiite villages outside the capital. Human rights groups say a total of 80 people have been killed since February 2011.

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