Bahrain race goes ahead amid unrest

The Bahrain Grand Prix has gone ahead without disruption despite continuing unrest and protests in the Gulf island.

Violent disturbances have been intensifying in recent days with around 50,000 anti-government protesters gathering around the capital Manama, just 25 miles away from where the controversial race meeting took place.

Opponents have fought pitched battles with security officials, with claims surfacing that protester Salah Habib Abbas, 37, was killed by shotgun pellets fired by riot police on a rooftop during an overnight raid.

The race itself passed peacefully, despite rumours leading opposition party al-Wefaq had purchased tickets and had planned a protest inside the track. German Sebastian Vettel won the race in front of a half-full main grandstand, with every other stand empty.

A spokesman for Channel 4 News said foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller and his team were arrested while reporting from Bahrain. The news crew are believed to be unharmed, but concerns were raised about the welfare of their local driver who was arrested and assaulted in front of them.

In an interview broadcast on Channel 4 News Mr Miller, who was speaking as they were being driven to a police station, said they had been unable to obtain official accreditation to report on the race due to restrictions by the authorities and were "under the radar".

"Right now we're concerned for the safety of our driver who I had hired to drive us around the city. He had willingly wanted to do this but obviously things are rather worse for Bahrainis in police custody. They have a terrible record of torture and maltreatment in these circumstances," he said.

Mr Miller, who said they had been surrounded by riot police since being arrested, said he expected he and his team to be deported.

Fahad al Binali, spokesman for the Bahrain Information Affairs Authority, told the BBC he was "surprised" some protesters had campaigned against the race, saying it had provided them with "a platform" to a global audience.

David Cameron had resisted pressure to call for the cancellation of the event, insisting it was a matter for the F1 authorities. But Labour's Peter Hain said he thought the "wrong judgment" had been made in staging the race at the current time.