Security can't be guaranteed at Grand Prix, says Yates of the Yard
The former high-ranking Metropolitan Police officer currently advising the Bahraini government has said that security cannot be guaranteed at the upcoming Grand Prix.
Former Assistant Commissioner John Yates made the remarks as anti-government demonstrations continued to rock Bahrain and protesters called for a "day of rage" ahead of the event this weekend. Nearly 50 people have been killed since February 2011 in violence between security forces and protesters from Bahrain's Shiite majority, which seeks to break the near monopoly on power by the island nation's Sunni monarchy.
Protests have intensified in recent weeks and opposition activists have called for the F1 race to be cancelled.
Mr Yates, who in his previous job was known as "Yates of the Yard", is currently on a six-month contract advising Bahrain's ruling Khalifa family on police reform. He is also working on security for the event. He 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."
Opposition figures outside the political parties – and who are opposed to the race – say they will stage protests inside the F1 circuit if they can, hoping to catch international attention.
Mr Yates said of the planned demonstrations: "There will be protests over the weekend. But we want to make this a sporting event, not a security event.
"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."
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