UK & World News

  • 1 September 2014, 10:10

Pakistan Protesters Pelt Police At Govt HQ

Protesters have hurled stones during running battles with police after breaking into an area which houses government ministries in Islamabad.

The protesters, some armed with wooden clubs, pushed towards Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's official residence in the Pakistan capital as police fired tear gas to disperse crowds.

The country's national PTV channel was also taken off air after crowds stormed the building on Monday.

Weeks of demonstrations calling for Mr Sharif's resignation spilled over into violence over the weekend after at least three people were killed in clashes.

Mr Sharif, who took office last year, has refused to resign. He is expected to address parliament on Tuesday.

Former cricketer Imran Khan, leading the protests alongside cleric Tahir ul Qadri, has vowed to continue until Mr Sharif steps down.

The Pakistani army has remained separate from the protests, but has warned police not to use force to resolve the situation.

The so-called Red Zone is home to the prime minister's house, parliament and many foreign embassies.

After a meeting in Rawalpindi, the Pakistan military said in a statement: "While reaffirming support to democracy, the conference reviewed with serious concern the existing political crisis and the violent turn it has taken, resulting in large scale injuries and loss of lives.

"It was once again reiterated that the situation should be resolved politically without wasting any time and without recourse to violent means."

The clashes have raised fears of another armed coup. Pakistan's last period of military rule ended in 2008.

Protesters claim the 2013 election which saw Mr Sharif take power was rigged, although it was labelled credible by foreign observers.

Clashes over the weekend left nearly 500 people injured, including children and nearly 100 police officers.

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