Motorsport

Controversy over Bahrain's Formula One race

Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT) April 20, 2012
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Protests against the Bahrain GP have intensified in recent weeks. This graffiti was posted on a wall in the village of Barbar, west of the capital Manama, in April.
Bahraini Shiite Muslims in the town of Muharraq take part in a demonstration calling for the cancelation of Sunday's race. Getty Images
Hundreds of supporters of Bahrain's main Shiite opposition group Al-Wefaq demonstrated against the government on April 15, 2012. AFP/Getty Images
However, Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed Alzayani told CNN that staging the race was not a big risk, and that F1 was not linked to the protesters' concerns.
Bernie Ecclestone, the head of Formula One Management, told CNN that sport and politics do not mix after announcing that the Bahrain race would go ahead. Getty Images
CNN's Fred Pleitgen went to Bahrain to report on the situation, and accompanied riot police as they confronted protesters in the streets.
Bahraini Shiite demonstrators hold posters of jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja during a protest calling for his release in the village of Jidhafs, west of Manama, on April 6, 2012. AFP/Getty Images
Al-Khawaja has been on hunger strike for almost two months, and his daughter told CNN she fears for his health.
Bahrain first held a Formula One race in 2004, but last year's event was canceled due to the civil uprising against the government. AFP/Getty Images