Army, Rangers called in Islamabad as protests turn violent

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army has been summoned to protect the red zone and diplomatic enclave from demonstrators protesting against the anti-Islam film here.

Protesters pelted vehicles with stones near a five star hotel located close to the red zone. At least nine policemen have been injured during clashes with protesters. Police have used tear gas and baton charged protesters to disperse them.

The Constitutional Avenue has been sealed and police is shelling tear gas on the protesters. Thousands of students earlier marched towards Islamabad from Rawalpindi, Murree and other areas.

Qamar Zaman Kaira said situation in Islamabad was serious and Punjab government was not performing its duty. Meanwhile, US has issued as advisory to its citizens not to travel in Pakistan.
Police fired live rounds and tear gas Thursday to break up a crowd of around 1,000 students, many armed with wooden clubs, protesting in Islamabad against a US-made anti-Islam film.

The demonstrators were driven back by police as they tried to reach Islamabad s heavily-guarded diplomatic enclave, which is home to most Western embassies, including the US, British and French missions.

The anti-Islam movie by US-based extremist Christians has triggered protests in at least 20 countries since excerpts were posted online, and more than 30 people have been killed in violence linked to the film.

There have been dozens of protests around Pakistan over the past week and at least two people have been killed, but Thursday is the first time protests in the capital have turned violent.

Police fired tear gas and live rounds as the protesters, chanting “We are ready to die to safeguard the Prophet s honour,” tried to break through a barrier of truck containers set up to block access to the diplomatic enclave.
The firing forced the protesters to scatter, but they returned later to pelt the police picket with stones.

Student Asif Mehmood demanded police let the protesters through to the US embassy and urged harsh treatment for American pastor Terry Jones, notorious for past Quran-burning episodes and who is reportedly connected to the film.

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