Monday, January 12, 2009

Police use tear gas on Gaza protesters in Karachi

Police Sunday used tear gas and batons to disperse hundreds of angry protesters rallying against Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
About 2,000 people had answered the call of religious leaders to protest the Jewish state’s campaign in the Palestinian territory, torching Israeli and US flags, but mainly marching peacefully.
But the protest briefly turned violent when several hundred protesters deviated from the planned route and started heading toward the US consulate in the southern port city.
When police tried to stop the demonstrators, they were pelted with stones.
Some protesters even started fistfights with officers, prompting police to fire tear gas shells and baton-charge the crowd.
Leaders used loudspeakers to urge the protesters to disperse without further incident and the situation was quickly brought under control.
“We have not arrested anyone,” said city police Chief Wasim Ahmed.
All roads leading to the US consulate were nevertheless sealed off as a security precaution.
Demonstrations to express solidarity and support for the Palestinians were staged in several major cities in Pakistan on Sunday, with about 2,000 turning out in the capital Islamabad and several hundred more in eastern Lahore.
Several small demonstrations took place in Lahore, with more than 400 people taking part in the main procession along central Mall Road, chanting anti-Israel and anti-US slogans before dispersing peacefully.
“Muslim rulers must take serious note of the double standards of the West,” the secretary general of Jamaat-i-Islami party, Munawwar Hussain, told protesters.
“The US, Britain and some other European countries raised a hue and cry over the Mumbai attacks but surprisingly the world is watching the killings of innocent women and children in Gaza as silent spectators.”
Pakistan has condemned Israel’s 16-day-old offensive in the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 875 people, saying it violates the UN charter.

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