April 20 - Opposition activists skirmish with police after 10,000 Bahrainis rallied peacefully for democracy, two days before Formula One race begins. Rouch Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Opposition youths skirmished with police after 10,000 Bahrainis rallied peacefully for democracy on Friday (April 19), two days before a Formula One car race that puts the Gulf Arab kingdom in the global spotlight. An authorised rally attended by men, women and children west of the capital Manama was orderly but as it broke up, just a few hundred yards (metres) away, dozens of young men skirmished with security forces firing tear gas. The youths, many wearing black and white masks, burned boxes, a rubbish bin and tyres in the road. The tear gas sent the young men scattering. Many in the Shi'ite Muslim-majority state accuse the Sunni-led government of trying to use Sunday's race to paper over human rights abuses and disguise political problems they say still plague the country, a close U.S. ally. The opposition hopes the spotlight on the kingdom's biggest sporting event will help their struggle gain wider attention. Bahrain has grappled with unrest since pro-democracy demonstrations broke out in February 2011, inspired by Arab Spring revolts that swept the region. The protests were crushed by Saudi-backed security forces, dozens of people were killed and authorities razed Pearl Square in central Manama, where mostly Shi'ite demonstrators had camped out. The race was cancelled in 2011 when the protests were crushed. Last year's race went ahead against a backdrop of burning tyres and riot police firing teargas at protesters throwing petrol bombs in Shi'ite Muslim villages.