Tear gas and gunfire in Islamabad
From the Times of India, Feb. 19:
ISLAMABAD: Security forces put a cordon around the Pakistani capital and made hundreds of arrests, before using tear gas and gunfire to quash a banned protest Sunday against cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, witnesses and officials said.
Police detained several lawmakers and Islamist leaders during raids in three cities ahead of the planned rally in Islamabad, where a few hundred demonstrators clashed with security forces for three hours, hurling stones and injuring at least two policemen.
Denmark, where the cartoons were first published in September, temporarily withdrew its ambassador from Islamabad Sunday in the midst of the tension, the Danish foreign ministry said in a statement.
Opposition leader Maulana Fazlur Rahman, who denounced a government ban on the demonstration as unconstitutional, was granted 11th-hour permission to lead a small rally of eight other opposition lawmakers and about 25 of their supporters through a square in the city center.
They chanted 'God is great!' and 'Any friend of America is traitor', as they marched. Authorities mounted roadblocks around the capital and declared they would arrest anyone joining a gathering of more than five people to prevent the rally called by MMA.
Paramilitary troops patrolled in pickup trucks with mounted machine guns, and soldiers behind sand bag bunkers guarded government buildings.
See our last post on the unrest in Pakistan.