Bahrain's protesters demand royals cancels F1 race

February 20, 2011 22:06


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MANAMA, Bahrain — Formula One's season-opening grand prix in Bahrain could be in jeopardy as newly emboldened protesters in Manama call for the royal family to scrap what they see as a costly vanity project, though the race also is the Gulf island's premier international event.

Demonstrations shaking the Arab world have put F1 smack in the middle of a power struggle in the small kingdom and US ally, and those trying to oust the island's dynasty know they have an important political tool in the Bahrain GP.

The race, which has been held since 2004, is meaningful to Crown Prince Sheik Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Having it called off would be embarrassing for the country and painful to him.

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