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Race of Champions called off due to Thai protests

An anti-government protester throws a rock at Thai riot police as they attempt to remove barricades outside Government House in Bangkok Dece
An anti-government protester throws a rock at Thai riot police as they attempt to remove barricades outside Government House in Bangkok Dece

(Reuters) - This month's Race of Champions motorsport event in Bangkok has been called off due to political upheaval in the Thai capital, organizers said on Monday.

Formula One world champions Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher had been among the drivers due to participate in the December 14-15 event at the Rajamangala Stadium.

Tens of thousands of protesters have flooded on to Bangkok streets in protests aimed at overthrowing the government of populist Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The Rajamangala stadium, in a Bangkok suburb, has been used for regular rallies by red-shirted supporters of the prime minister.

"The Sports Authority of Thailand and the organizers of the 2013 Race Of Champions have announced the event cannot take place as planned...due to the current political situation in Bangkok," race organizers said in a statement.

"The Race Of Champions has been held all over the world for 25 consecutive years and we are currently looking at options of repeating the success of last year's event in Bangkok on another date."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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