The official Formula One website has been hacked; a group that calls itself Anonymous has claimed that it has taken down the site in support of protests against the decision to stage the Grand Prix in Bahrain.
There have been protests in Bahrain against the government's decision to host the F1 race in the country, scheduled on Sunday, even as a crackdown on activists, professionals and opposition members continues.
The collective has posted a statement on its website F1 Racers denouncing the regime of King Hamad bin Al-Khalifa. "For over one year the people of Bahrain have struggled against the oppressive regime of King Hamad bin Al Khalifa. They have been murdered in the streets, run over with vehicles, beaten, tortured, tear gassed, kidnapped by police, had their businesses vandalised by police, and have tear gas thrown in to their homes on a nightly basis," says the statement.
"Still the regmine persists to deny any meaningful reform and continues to use brutal and violent tactics to oppress the popular calls for reformation. Not only is the Human Rights situation in Bahrain tragic, it becomes more drastic with each passing day. For these reasons the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain should be strongly opposed. The Al Khalifa regime stands to profit heavily off the race and has promised to use live ammunition against protestors in preparation. They have already begun issuing collective punishment to entire villages for protests and have promised further retribution "to keep order" for the F1 events in Bahrain. The Formula 1 racing authority was well-aware of the Human Rights situation in Bahrain and still chose to contribute to the regime's oppression of civilians and will be punished."
"We demand the immediate release of human rights worker Abdulhadi Alkhawaja who has spent over 70 days on hunger strike. He has committed no crimes and is being punished by the regime for advocating people's basic human rights. Free him and all other political prisoners in Bahrain. End torture. Deport all mercenary police and stop the use of tear gas against civilians," adds the statement.
"We Do Not Forgive. We Do Not Forget. Expect Us," is the warning that the group signs off with.
The Bahrain event was cancelled last year in the wake of the uprising and the government crackdown that followed in which a government commission said 35 people were killed.