Human Rights Watch(HRW) says the Bahraini regime has arrested 20 opposition activists ahead of the upcoming Formula One Grand Prix in the kingdom.
Sarah Leah Whitson, the HRW ' s Middle East director, made the announcement in a statement published on Wednesday. " Bahraini authorities are carrying out home raids and arbitrarily detaining opposition protesters in advance of the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend, " the statement said. " These raids and detentions suggest that officials are more concerned with getting activists out of circulation for the Formula 1 race than with addressing the legitimate grievances that have led so many Bahrainis to take to the streets, " it read.
" Night - time raids of targeted people by masked officers who show neither arrest nor search warrants appear intended to intimidate them, their families and their supporters, " it added.
Protesters in the island nation have been staging rallies in solidarity with political prisoners and against the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, which is due to be held on April 21. Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on the peaceful protesters. Dozens of people have been killed in the crackdown, and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses accused of treating injured revolutionaries.