Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tens of Thousands Hold Anti-PM Rally in Pakistan

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tens of Thousands Hold Anti-PM Rally in Pakistan

Article excerpt

ISLAMABAD * Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Pakistan's capital of Islamabad late Friday in the pouring rain after the arrival of convoys led by a cricket star- turned-politician and a fiery anti-Taliban cleric.

The twin protests led by Imran Khan and the cleric Tahir-ul- Qadri represent the biggest challenge yet to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's year-old government, and security had been tightened across the capital amid fears of unrest in a country with a long history of chaotic politics and military coups.

The protesters left the eastern city of Lahore on Thursday, vowing to march to the capital and camp out there until their demands for a new government are met. Despite the darkness and the lashing rain, the crowds swelled as they entered Islamabad shortly before midnight.

Police estimated some 60,000 people were taking part in the protest.

The protests were festive despite the rain, with demonstrators waving national and party flags and dancing to drums and songs. …

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