Protests erupt across Punjab cities after Islamabad crackdown
LAHORE: With the security forces lobbing teargas shells on stone-throwing workers of a religious group camped out at Islamabad’s busy Faizabad Interchange to break their sit-in, the effects of crackdown seemed to be spilling over to other parts of the country.
Dozens of activists of Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah and Sunni Tehreek staged protests and blocked major roads in several cities of Punjab province to protest police action against the Faizabad protesters.
In Lahore, a large number of religious hardliners blocked Imamia Railway crossing and Lahore-Rawalpindi road, and set tires alight, disrupting vehicular traffic.
Four people, policemen among them, were injured when the protesters clashed with police personnel in the provincial capital’s Shahdara area. A large number of activists of the protesting religious parties also gathered at the Mall Road and chanted slogans against the government.
In Faisalabad, dozens of workers of the religious parties gathered at Chishtia intersection and blocked the road connecting the city with Sarghoda district.
Similar protesters were also witnessed in Pattoki, Jalapur Bhattian, Ferozwala, Gujranwala, Burewala, Serai Alamgir and Attock and other parts of the province.
The law enforcement agencies launched the operation early Saturday morning after the capital administration’s final deadline of 7am to end the Faizabad sit-in expired.
Police resorted to intense teargas shelling to disperse the crowd, but seemed to have failed to disperse the defiant Islamabad protesters.