UPDATE: *POLICE, PROTESTERS CLASH IN ISLAMABAD; AT LEAST 230 HURT: AFP
Against the background we initialliy explained here, and the escalation we discussed here, Imran Khan's "Pakistan Spring" has grown dramatically. The former cricketing-legend and erstwhile opposition leader's call for people to take to the streets to demand new 'unrigged' elections has 1000s of protesters breaching the Prime Minister's residence in Islamabad. Along with anti-government cleric Tahirul Qadri, Khan urged peaceful protest but, as AP reports, an estimated 20,000 police in riot gear are blocking the procession using tear gas and rubber bullets. Local hospitals report at least 100 injuries.
I ask Pakistan to come out on Streets : Imrankhan pic.twitter.com/BclmUiTrJg— Ahmad Ali Warraich (@AhmadWarraich19) August 30, 2014
qadri or imran ka naya pakistan pic.twitter.com/iz5WyCNdmC— shahid razzaq (@shahidrazzaq7) August 30, 2014
ya hai imran khan ka naya pakistan pic.twitter.com/EMlELZmbco— shahid razzaq (@shahidrazzaq7) August 30, 2014
- *SOME PROTESTORS HAVE ENTERED P.M. HOUSE PREMISES: SAMAA TV
- *PAKISTAN POLICE FIRE TEAR GAS AT PROTESTORS: SAMAA TV
- *PAKISTAN POLICE FIRE RUBBER BULLETS AT PROTESTORS; 100 INJURED
Pakistani police fired tear gas at thousands of protesters as they tried to march toward the prime minister's home in the capital on Saturday, blanketing the route with clouds of white smoke and scattering demonstrators.
Police also fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, injuring some protesters, and at least a dozen were taken to a nearby hospital, police said.
Riot police initially showed restraint to Saturday's march but when the crowd started removing shipping containers used as barricades, they fired salvos of tear gas canisters that forced the crowds back. TV footage showed protesters, including women and children, scattering in retreat. Some fell to the ground and dozens were being treated in a hospital. Many, including two children, were shown being treated for effects of tear gas.
Police refused to give any estimates about the size of the crowd that had been headed toward the prime minister's residence.
Police official Farman Ali said the injured have been shifted to a government hospital.
"They fired tear gas shells at us," said Ahsanullah Fakhri, 28, who was bleeding from his leg, as he exited an ambulance with some seven other protesters who had multiple minor wounds.
"I think they are also firing some bullets, I think rubber bullets," he added.
Khan described the police's action against the crowd as illegal.
Now we will show this government, we will call for countrywide agitation and we will jam the whole of Pakistan."
Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan quickly visited the scene to boost police morale.
"A group wanted to capture the prime ministers house and other buildings. We are under oath, and the police as well, to protect the state assets."
* * *
While Straight Bullets and Tear Gas Shells are being fired on Imran Khan's bus. He stands at top to lead Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/eMDqjY3Uw5— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 30, 2014
* * *
A collection of clips...
* * *
At least this is something that could never happen in America... oh wait.