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.
The body was found on the rooftop of a building in the town of Shakura, north of the capital Manama.
Residents identified him as Salah al—Qattan and relatives claimed he was shot dead.
The country’s security chief Tariq Hassan said Saturday an investigation had been opened into the death of the 36—year—old man whose body, he added, had been found in a garden.
“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 on Saturday between the man’s relatives and police forces, who used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Thousands of protesters had rallied across Bahrain on Friday, as race cars took to the track amid tight security ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Opposition activists and human rights advocates have called for the race’s cancellation, as part of ongoing protests against alleged human rights abuses by the government.
The opposition had vowed “days of rage” ahead of the race.
Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad has rejected calls to call off the race, saying any cancellation would help extremists.
The race was called off 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.
Keywords: Bahrain Grand prix