Every year since 2011, the opposition has been using the Bahrain Grand Prix to make their voices heard. On Friday, thousands of them gathered in Manama to claim once again political reforms and condemn the repression. However, they were no signs of hostility towards the race in itself.

One could easily forget that, behind the buzz of the Formula one big circus, stopped in Bahrain this week end, the country is still very tense. Inspired by the events of the Arab Spring, the Shiite population has been demanding a constitutional monarchy for their country and the end of the Al Khalifa monarchy, of Sunni descent. The movement was squashed promptly but it amplified while

Taking advantage of the media presence this week end, the protesters attempted once again to spread their message and revendications. They criticize the state of human rights and the lack of liberties in the country. The protest went smoothly although Amnesty International had warned on the risk of repressive acts.

The Grand prix organizers don’t want the party to get spoiled. Back in 2011, the race had to be canceled because of the protests. The following year, the race was again threatened as teams feared for the safety of their members while human rights organizations called for a boycott to condemn Bahrain royal family.