London: A heavy police presence was ascertained on the streets of Bahrain to ensure that pro-democracy protests did not disrupt the controversial Grand Prix in country.
Activists have argued that the event should not have taken place due to widespread human rights abuses by the ruling monarchy.
According to the Independent, protesters burnt tyres to block several roads on the outskirts of the capital city of Manama while a number of police cars and armoured vehicles protected the Sakhir circuit, where the world champion Sebastian Vettel won.
Activists from the largely Shia opposition groups held a number large-scale demonstrations in the run-up to the race, calling for its cancellation due to alleged human rights abuses by the ruling Sunni minority monarchy.
Despite pressure from the country’s opposition groups and from a number of British MPs, Formula One’s organisers have refused to consider cancelling the race.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, the Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone said it wasn’t his job to question the laws of every country they visit.
He said that they do not go anywhere to judge how a country is run and keep asking people.
He added that he did not understand what human rights are, saying the rights are that people who live in the country abide by the laws of the country, whatever they are.
Sayed Yousif al-Muhafda of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights criticised the race’s organisers for ignoring human rights abuses in the country.