Pakistani Police, Protesters Clash In The Streets Of Islamabad

The clashes injured hundreds of people and began as protesters marched on the home of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The protesters have called for Sharif’s resignation.

1. UPDATED — Aug. 31, 1:30 a.m. EDT

2. More than two weeks of protests in Pakistan came to a head Saturday evening when police clashed with thousands of protesters in Islamabad, the capital.

Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

3. The clashes began as the protesters attempted to march on the official residence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

Pakistani authorities used shipping container barriers in an attempt to stop the protesters’ advance. The clashes reportedly ignited Saturday when the protesters began removing the barriers.

4. The protesters have called on Sharif to step down, arguing that he committed electoral fraud in 2013, among other things.

Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

5. The protesters are loyal to Tahir ul-Qadri, pictured below, and Imran Khan, two opposition politicians.

Akhtar Soomro / Reuters

On Saturday, ul-Qadri addressed his supporters outside the parliament house. Both he and Khan had said they planned to lead the march on Sharif’s home, but a BBC reporter did not see them at the scene.

6. The protests began Aug. 14 with a march from the city of Lahore to Islamabad. Despite some initial clashes, the Associated Press reported that the protests subsequently were “festive,” with the protesters camped outside the parliament building.

Protesters marching on Aug. 14. AP Photo/http://K.M. Chaudary

7. During the clashes Saturday, protesters were met by thousands of police in riot gear, as well as military personnel.

Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

8. Police fired tear gas at protesters during the clashes.

AP Photo/http://B.K. Bangash

A protester said police also used rubber bullets.

9. Pakistani Defense Minister Khwaja Mohammad Asif later told reporters the police managed to disperse the protesters from the lawn and parking lot of the parliament building.

A protester stands amidst tear gas smoke Saturday. Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

10. Islamabad police said the protesters had hammers, wire cutters, and axes, among other weapons. However, ul-Qadri later told the BBC the protesters were unarmed.

Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

The BBC described the protesters as “stone-pelting” and “baton-wielding.”

11. Scores of protesters were injured in the clashes.

AP Photo/http://B.K. Bangash

Local hospitals told the BBC that 264 people were injured, including 26 policemen. The AP reported that more than 300 people were injured, while AFP put the count even higher, at more than 400 people.

12. Women and children were among the injured protesters.

AP Photo/http://B.K. Bangash

Two of the people injured were in critical condition, according to the BBC.

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Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jim Dalrymple II at jim.dalrymple@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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