Pakistani Police Prevent Thousands from Marching on US Consulate
More than 5,000 radical Islamist students staged a highly charged rally here Tuesday, the largest protest yet on Pakistani soil over fears of United States military action in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of police and paramilitary troops were deployed to prevent the protesters from marching towards the US consulate.
Armed with sticks, the students came out from Binroi Town mosque, Pakistan's largest Islamic seminary, carrying placards declaring "Down with US," "America's graveyard, Afghanistan, Pakistan" and "We are Osama, we are Taliban."
A group of the protestors set alight an effigy of US President George W. Bush.
The president wants Osama bin Laden "dead or alive" for his alleged role in the September 11 kamikaze passenger jet attacks on New York and Washington.
The Saudi dissident is sheltered by the Taliban Islamic regime in Afghanistan.
"Today, we have been able to control our students, but in case of any attack on Afghanistan, they could get out of control," said Karim Abid, a leader of the radical Islamic party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), which is a Taliban supporter.
Police officer Mohammad Amin said: "We have increased the police at the [US] consulate as a preventive measure."
The protestors could only get to within four kilometers of the US mission, and no violent incidents were reported.
The demonstration was the biggest in the country since General Pervez Musharraf seized power in October 1999, and has dwarfed protests that followed Musharraf's promise to extend "full support" to the United States in its fight against terrorism -- KARACHI (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)