1. ITV Report

Bahrain Grand Prix takes place as protests continue

Anti-government protesters flash victory signs as they burn tyres in Budaiya Photo: Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters

Formula One drivers raced in Bahrain as protests continued across the country.

In the Shi'ite villages around the capital Manama, demonstrators hurled petrol bombs during nightly clashes with the police who responded with teargas and rubber bullets.

A demonstrator runs through a cloud of tear gas fired by police during a protest in the village of Diraz, west of Manama Credit: Reuters

Black smoke from burning tyres wafted over Budaiya, a village that saw mass protests this week.

For those involved in Formula One, the unrest has had little impact, with the road to the Bahrain International Circuit lined with police.

Red Bull's world champion Sebastian Vettel said shortly after arrival on Thursday that he thought much of what was being reported was hype. He added that he was looking forward to getting in the car and dealing with the "stuff that really matters - tyre temperatures, cars".

Red Bull team practice a pit stop with Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel Credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

The sporting event is the Government's chance to show that life has gone back to normal in the island kingdom after security concerns over anti-government demonstrations forced last year's race to be delayed, then cancelled.

It appears to have backfired, with nightly TV images of streets ablaze embarrassing Formula One and the global brands that lavish it with sponsorship.

The death of 36-year-old protester Salah Abbas Habib - found sprawled on a rooftop on Saturday after clashes - provides more fuel for outrage among a Shi'ite Muslim majority that complains of being marginalised by ruling Sunnis.

The covered body of Salah Abbas Habib is seen as police investigate on a rooftop of a farmhouse in the village of Shakura Credit: Reuters

His funeral could be held today, setting the stage for mass riots, but authorities have sometimes held on to bodies for weeks.

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