Pakistani protesters clashed violently with police in a dispute revolving around an 'indecent' marathon. The marathon race was labeled 'indecent'
because women were allowed to participate, according to local news sources. Most of the injured at this stage appear to be police officers as opposed
to protesters. The angry mob of several hundred young men and some women threw bricks and shouted slogans, trying to dissuade the female runners from
Pakistani police lobbed tear gas and fired shots in the air on Sunday to disperse a violent protest by an Islamic opposition alliance on the
participation of women with men in a mini-marathon race, state-run media said.
The clashes erupted in the eastern city of Gujranwala, 220 km (135 miles) southeast of the capital Islamabad, after activists of the Islamic Muttahida
Majlis-e-Amal alliance attacked the men and women contesting the race with batons.
The state-run Pakistan Television said police fired shots in the air and tear gas, injuring several people including a lawmaker from the Islamic
grouping. The angry protestors later torched several cars and vehicles to fire, the report said.
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In what appears to be a concerted effort on the part of some to incite a riot, youths were gathered together and directed to swarm the location where
the marathon was held. They attacked police and attempted to get to the runners, but at this point it appears that the mini-marathon went ahead as
Protesters vandalized property and set fires after they were driven away from the immediate vicinity of the race. Pakistan is a very tense place
right now, to say the least. Protests are not uncommon, and they often are conducted in this manner, throwing bricks and setting fire, shouting
slogans and trying to intimidate people. It appears that their efforts were largely ineffective, and that gives moderates some glimpse of hope.
The Pakistani state, governmental officials, and police are under pressure from religious groups in their own country, and of course western influence
that urges them in the opposite direction. They are the rope, and neither side seems willing to concede this tug of war.
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[edit on 3-4-2005 by WyrdeOne]