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Hundreds Hurt in Clashes Between Police, Protesters in Pakistan

Police fired rubber bullets and used tear gas against protesters who marched on the home of the country's prime minister in Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD — Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters who had been staging a sit-in in front of Pakistan's parliament for the last two weeks, demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation over what they claim were rigged elections in 2013, as well as the government's alleged involvement in police brutality that killed 14 demonstrators in June.

Police involved in the clashes said a crowd of protesters “in the thousands” marched on the prime minister’s home at 10 p.m. local time, and the officers claimed they reacted after crowds threw rocks and fired weapons at them. But a senior military source contradicted that account, and said the protesters did not use any weapons against police. Protesters at one point used wire cutters and trucks to breach the walls of the compound.

Over 260 people were injured but there were no deaths reported, according to hospital officials. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who was present at the scene of the rioting, defended the police’s actions to NBC News, saying "we pushed them back because we had to." Around 30,000 protesters have occupied an area called the “Red Zone” since August 14th, as negotiations between the protest leaders and the government faltered.


— Wajahat S. Khan