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Protesters blocked several roads and police fired teargas at a school in Bahrain on Sunday, activists said, as the Gulf state staged a Formula One race promoted by the government as pure sport but seen by the opposition as a public relations stunt.
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Scores of police cars and a couple of armoured vehicles stood along the highway from the capital Manama to the race circuit, where the Grand Prix, won by Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel, took place without incident.
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"The number of security in some areas is more than the number of protesters," Sayed Yousif al-Muhafda of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Muhafda told Reuters.\nWitnesses at the Sakhir desert circuit, roughly 30 km (20 miles) southwest of the capital, said there was no sign of unrest in the immediate vicinity.
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Asked for comment on the reported clashes, which included more of the near-nightly violence between police and youths in villages near the capital, an Interior Ministry official said only that everything was normal.
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Protests in the Gulf Arab country - a key Western ally that hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet - broke out in 2011, with the Shi'ite-led opposition drawing thousands of demonstrators demanding democratic reforms from the Sunni-led government.
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The unrest forced the cancellation of that year's Formula One race and although the event went ahead in 2012, it was overshadowed by violent protests in the country.
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Muhafda said several protests and clashes broke out during the day, including in the villages of Sanabis, Al Daih and Jedhafs, where he said police arrested 13 protesters.