The riots in Bahrain surrounding the upcoming Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix race have reached a fever pitch in the past few weeks, and attracting international media attention. They’ve also managed to catch the attention of a prominent hacking group who removed the official F1 Web site earlier this morning.
However, according to the statement put out by Anonymous, the site hack was done because of the "tyrannical, barbaric – and human rights violating dictatorship" that currently runs the island state. The F1 has become a target of both digital and physical attacks and riots because the Bahrain GP is expected to be seen by some 100 million people worldwide, and because the Bahraini leaders have "depicted the race…as an event that will put the divided society on the path of reconciliation," according to Al Jazeera. Many see F1 not cancelling the race as clear support for the current government.
Bahrain is ruled by a constitutional monarchy led by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince Salman bin Haman bin Isa Al Khalifa, and Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. The Crown Prince actually owns the rights to the Bahrain GP F1 race and has stated that this weekend's race will happen despite the riots. According to the Associated Press, roughly 70 percent of the country's over half a million people are Shiites – the majority is claiming that they face discrimination and lack opportunities that the ruling Sunnis have.
Riot police have been brought in to disperse the current riots outside of the Grand Prix track and security has been elevated around the race. This is in stark contrast to last year's race, which was cancelled due to similar unrest in the country.
As for the Web site? Well, we can’t help but notice F1’s Web presence is back up and running at the moment.