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‘No concerns about Bahrain Grand Prix’

‘No concerns about Bahrain Grand Prix’
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Formula One has no concerns about this month’s Bahrain Grand Prix becoming a target for anti-government protesters, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Friday.

The race at the Sakhir desert circuit was cancelled in 2011 when a Shi’ite-led pro-democracy uprising was crushed and at least 35 people - activists put the tally far higher - were killed.

Last year’s grand prix, the biggest sporting event in the US-allied Gulf island kingdom and watched by hundreds of millions around the world, went ahead controversially amid tight security and against a backdrop of burning tyres and riot police firing teargas at petrol-bomb throwing protesters in Shi’ite villages.

Bahrain’s opposition and government resumed reconciliation talks in February for the first time since July 2011 and, even if little progress has been reported, Ecclestone felt the situation had improved.

‘I haven’t had any negative reports from anybody there,’ the 82-year-old said as he prepared for a double header with the Chinese Grand Prix on April 14 and Bahrain on the 21st.

‘Somebody who actually lives there came to see me yesterday and said everything’s very normal. ‘I think they are talking now anyway, so I don’t think they’ll upset  it with protests.’
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