Clashes erupt in Pakistan 'shut down' protest

Supporters of Imran Khan clash with police as they heed his call and attempt to shut down Faisalabad city.

    Clashes erupt in Pakistan 'shut down' protest
    Ex-cricketer Khan called for "shut down" protests to pressure the federal government to step down [AFP]

    Police have clashed with hundreds of protesters from the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, who were attempting to shut down the eastern city of Faisalabad as part of its leader Imran Khan's movement against the federal government.

    Police used water cannons, wooden batons and tear gas on Monday against protesters in several areas, including the central Millat Chowk area, local news television footage showed.

    The situation remains tense, as supporters of the PTI, also known as the Movement for Justice party, refuse to back down.

    Protesters conducted sit-ins at main intersections in the city, a major economic hub, and shouted slogans against the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) government.

    They burned tyres and blocked roads, while PML-N workers threw rocks and used wooden batons, prompting owners of businesses in areas where the protests were taking place to shut down their shops. 

    Small groups of PTI supporters have clashed with PML-N workers as well. 

    The protest is part of a call Khan made on November 30, calling for "shut down" protests to be held in several Pakistani cities to increase pressure on the PML-N government, before a countrywide strike on December 18. 

    Khan, a former cricketer, alleges that the PML-N government rigged the 2013 general elections, internationally recognised as largely free and fair, in order to sideline his party.

    Since August this year, he has been leading protests around the country calling for Nawaz Sharif to resign as prime minister.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera And AP


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