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Police Block Protests, Keep Bhutto In House

From an overjoyed Reuters:

Police block Bhutto, Pakistan capital sealed off

By Kamran Haider

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani police blocked opposition leader Benazir Bhutto from leaving her home in Islamabad on Friday and sealed off the capital and nearby city of Rawalpindi to stop a rally against President Pervez Musharraf.

Bhutto, the politician most capable of galvanizing mass protests against Musharraf’s imposition of emergency rule, tried to breach a cordon and appealed to police to let her through.

“The government has been paralyzed,” Bhutto shouted to supporters across a barbed-wire barricade.

Two buses and an armored personnel carrier blocked the road outside her house.

“If he restores the constitution, takes off his uniform, gives up the office of the chief of army staff and announces an election by January 15, then it’s okay,” she said, vowing defiance if he failed to comply. She then returned to her residence…

An Interior Ministry spokesman said 2,500 people had been detained since the emergency was declared at the weekend, though Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples’ Party say 5,000 of their activists have been picked up in the past couple of days.

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Rawalpindi, where Bhutto planned to lead a rally. Barbed-wire barricades were erected on all roads leading to the venue.

Railways Minister and close Musharraf ally, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, told Reuters Bhutto’s detention was temporary — officials said three days — and was meant to protect her from suicide bomb attacks, as well as stop her going to Rawalpindi…

The irony is that Bhutto is helping the very people who tried to kill her (and who did kill at least 139) gain power.

At least one hopes it is ironic — and unintentional.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, November 9th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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