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Police Pounce on Pakistani Protests

Anti-government demonstrations in Pakistan were thwarted by police Thursday, as opposition leaders were arrested and protesters were stopped after the government claimed that such public gatherings could be sites for terrorist attacks.

The L.A. Times:

Police overwhelmed anti-government protesters Thursday in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, arresting opposition leaders and preventing several hundred lawyers and activists from leaving for a planned demonstration in Islamabad.

The government of President Asif Ali Zardari contends that public gatherings could serve as a focal point for terrorists and otherwise endanger property and lives.

Authorities also banned public gatherings in two key provinces and blocked major roads into Islamabad, the capital, with barriers and paramilitary vehicles.

“The government has resorted to raiding the houses of the leaders of political parties,” said Farooq Tariq, an official with the Labor Party. “I’ve been underground for the last three days.”

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