Protester found dead in Bahrain on eve of F1 race
A Bahraini protester was found dead on Saturday after security forces clashed overnight with demonstrators demanding the cancellation of this weekend's Formula 1 race in the Gulf kingdom, dpa reported.
The body was found on the rooftop of a building in the town of Shakura, north of the capital Manama, according to witnesses.
Residents had initially identified him as Salah al-Qattan, claiming he had been shot dead. But the authorities later named the man as Salah Abbas Habib and said his body was found in a garden.
The country's security, chief Tariq Hassan, said an investigation had been opened into the death of the 36-year-old man.
"The public prosecution has been notified that criminal suspicions surround his death," Hassan added in a statement carried by the state news agency.
The official cautioned against making hasty conclusions and statements "that do not serve the public interest."
Clashes erupted between the man's relatives and police forces, who used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Clashes were also reported between police and anti-government protesters in other parts of Bahrain. There were no reports about casualties.
Armoured vehicles were seen patrolling Manama, with the government having stepped up security ahead of Sunday's Grand Prix.
The country has been gripped by increasing protests, with the opposition vowing to hold "days of rage" ahead of the race.
Opposition activists and human rights advocates have called for the race's cancellation, alleging human rights abuses by the government.
Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad has rejected calls to call off the race, saying any cancellation would help extremists.
The race was cancelled last year due to unrest in Bahrain. The sport's controlling body FIA has decided that the country is stable enough this year to go ahead with the race.
The island country's majority Shiites have been taking to the streets since early last year, demanding more rights from the ruling Sunni royal family.