Demonstrators Clash With Pakistan Police

AP News, November 7, 2007


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Police swung batons and fired tear gas at supporters of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto demonstrating near Pakistan’s parliament Wednesday, deepening a political crisis triggered by the imposition of military rule.

Associated Press reporters saw hundreds of protesters pushing metal barricades into ranks of riot police blocking their path. Police beat several activists who broke through, and dragged at least three away from the scene.

State television said the parliament had endorsed President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s state of emergency declaration.

The demonstrators pulled back after several rounds of tear gas were fired toward them.

Bhutto had called on supporters to defy a ban on protesting the imposition of emergency rule, even as the government threatened to crush her demonstrations.

She also said more than 400 members of her Pakistan People’s Party have been arrested.

Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup, suspended the constitution after declaring the state of emergency Saturday. He has since ousted independent-minded judges, put a stranglehold on the media and granted sweeping powers to authorities to crush dissent. Thousands of people have been rounded up and thrown in jail since then.

Continued . . .


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