A group of Anonymous-branded hackers issued a press release last night marking the group’s intention to take down the official website of Formula One for the entire duration of the Bahrain Grand Prix, reports Jalopnik.
What could Formula One have done to spur the ire of the online “hacktivist” group? According to the release, the group is protesting the Bahraini government’s ever increasing violence and crackdown of its people.
Unrest in the island kingdom, which is a constitutional monarchy and ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, began in 2011 following the popular and successful uprisings in fellow Arab countries Tunisia and Egypt. Reports coming out of Bahrain accuse the government of using heavy-handed tactics in retaliation to demonstrations from opposition forces.
Last year, Bahrain canceled the Grand Prix amid civil unrest. And despite protests leading up to this year’s race, the government decided to carry on — ignoring calls for the event to be canceled again. Bahrain made history back in 2004 as the first country in the Middle East to host a Formula One Grand Prix.
As of this writing, formulaone.com is back up, but F1-racers.net displays a message from Anonymous condemning the violent acts of the Bahraini government against its own people.
Greetings from Anonymous
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.
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.
We Do Not Forgive. We Do Not Forget. Expect Us.
0x0 was and still is here. Join #OpBahrain
Anonymous also urges fans of F1 to ignore the race altogether: by either not attending, or watching it on TV. The group also calls on the drivers of Formula One to show their support and protest the race by not crossing the starting line at the beginning of the race.
You can read the full press release from Anonymous, here.