Bahrain circuit chairman goes on defensive

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit accused extremist groups of using "scare-mongering tactics" in a bid to exaggerate the unrest which could force the cancellation of the Formula One race later this month.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled to take place April 22, but there are growing calls to cancel it for a second straight year because of daily clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters. A jailed activist on a two-month hunger strike has also galvanized rights groups who claim the race should be put off.

Circuit chairman Zayed Al Zayani also blamed "armchair observers" who don't have the facts for driving the debate, while "neutral parties" who have visited the island are being ignored.