Ecclestone:We have never been involved in religion or politics
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says security forces responded in an "illegal and excessively heavy-handed" manner against peaceful demonstrators.
In a statement issued by her office Friday, she condemned the use of live ammunition against protesters in Libya, the use of electric tasers and batons in Yemen, and the use of military-grade shotguns in Bahrain.
Pillay says "particularly egregious are the targeted attacks on journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and even, in the case of Bahrain, doctors and medical personnel attending to injured protesters".
A recent race at the Bahrain circuit had to be cancelled because medical attendants were too busy elsewhere dealing with less mechanical carnage. Which poses a problem for Ecclestone who is reportedly watching and waiting. There is a time limit on this though. In a week's time he will have to make a decision. The race weekend begins 11th March and the teams need to be there with all of their equipment and drivers a week before that for testing.
This may appear not to amount to a hill of beans, given the political state of play, but whether Bernie likes it or not, a lot of people will be watching to see if there is linkage, tacit support for those "egregious" attacks. There is no doubt that had this been a game of cricket, public opprobrium would have caused an abort. Financially, of course, a cricket tour is a minnow and GP1 is a behemoth. Bernie elects to turn a blind eye to politics and religion: "We've never been involved in religion or politics. We've never made a decision on this. It's not for us to run a country", he says.
Countries like Bahrain need all the international credibility they can get. Given the nationalistic nature of events like the Grand Prix, I cannot help wondering if Bernie is burying his head in all that desert sand.