Man found dead after Bahrain F1 protests: opposition | News | DW | 22.04.2012
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Man found dead after Bahrain F1 protests: opposition

A protester has been found dead in Bahrain in the wake of anti-government clashes with police, opposition activists have said. Security remains tight on the eve of the Formula One Grand Prix in the kingdom.

The man's body was found on Saturday in Shakhura, a Shiite village around eight kilometers (five miles) outside the capital, Manama.

The opposition party Wefaq said the man, whom they named as Salah Abbas Habib, was found on the roof of a building and that he was part of a group of protesters beaten by riot police in clashes that began late Friday.

Bahrain's interior ministry said in a statement on Twitter that a body had been found in Shakhura and that police were investigating.

"Salah was taking part in the protest in Shakhura Friday and was arrested by security forces while other protesters managed to flee," one of the man's relatives told the AFP news agency. "We knew nothing about him [after the protest] until we were told that his body was found on Saturday morning," the family member said on condition of anonymity.

'Days of rage'

Thousands of protesters clashed with riot police in Shiite villages outside Manama on Friday, demanding political reforms and the cancellation of the Formula One event. The opposition has called for "days of rage" to protest the government and try to put a stop to the racing event.

"The government are using the Formula One race to serve their PR campaign," rights activist Nabeel Rajab told Reuters. "It's not turning out the way they wanted."

The activists, mainly members of the majority Shiite community, accuse the Sunni elite of discriminating against them.

Police have been out in force in Manama to prevent unrest near the Grand Prix circuit. Practice runs on Saturday took place without incident.

Last year's Bahrain Grand Prix was abandoned after a brutal government crackdown on protesters that left 35 people dead.

The race is set to take place on Sunday with German Sebastian Vettel in pole position in his Red Bull. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is in second and Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber third.

ncy/acb (Reuters, AP, AFP, SID)