Bahrain unable to guarantee safety for F1

The government of Bahrain cannot guarantee the safety of Formula One teams and spectators at this Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix as violence escalates in the Gulf kingdom, according to the British former police officer who is working on security at the track.

John Yates, the former assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police who is employed by the Bahrain government to advise on police reform, told the Guardian: "People say can we guarantee security. Of course we can't guarantee security. I'd be a fool to sit here and say that.

"Is it possible there might be an incursion on the track? Of course there is. It's an open event. Can you stop some idiot running onto the track? There have been other incidents of track incursions."

Yates also said police would retaliate with live rounds if necessary: "The police will have all the options you would expect. If the opposition started firing live ammunition, the police would respond with live," he said, adding: "But I don't think that's likely."

The British policeman, known universally as "Yates of the Yard", went to Bahrain on a six-month contract four months ago. He led the cash-for-honors investigation, but resigned last year following criticism of the police investigation into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

"There will be protests over the weekend. But we want to make this a sporting event not a security event. The man who is heading the security said he wanted security to be felt but not seen. And I applaud that.

"I judge it more likely there will be protests on the route and protests around the villages. I just hope it's a good event and I hope it goes off without too much trouble."

Yates made his comments as protesters stepped up their activity with a demonstration in middle of the capital, Manama, which had to be broken up with stun grenades, and promises of 15 further demonstrations overnight, compared with seven on Tuesday night. The Guardian

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