LAHORE, Sept 17: At least 10 protesters were injured when participants in a rally against the profane film on Monday clashed with the police outside the US consulate at Shimla Pahari near Lahore Press Club.
The rally was arranged by Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM).
The clash erupted when a number of protesters tried to march on the consulate. They forced their way through many pickets before being stopped by the police when the consulate building was just less than 50 metre away. As the police baton-charged the marchers, a few participants managed to sneak through the last barrier in a bid to forcibly enter the building.
The place turned into a battlefield after the police tried to stop the protesters from moving on the consulate. Additional police force was called as soon as the mob reached near the consulate’s main entrance gate.
Carrying placards, banners and party flags, the rioters chanted slogans against the US for supporting anti-Islam activities across the world. As a result of police baton charge, around 10 people suffered injuries.
Some protesters, who succeeded in climbing up concrete barriers, set the US flag on fire. The police also detained three rioters.
“We just marched on the consulate to lodge a protest through a written memorandum to the US officials there. We lament police action as they unnecessarily resorted to baton charge,” MWM Lahore Division Secretary-General Hassan Hamdani told Dawn on the spot.
He claimed that around 10 MWM protesters had succeeded in entering the consulate building and set the US flag (hoisting on the roof) on fire. They also hoisted their flag bearing slogans `Allahuma Labaik’ on the roof of the building.
He said the MWM would continue with its country-wide protests.
Earlier, the protesters staged a sit-in on the spot where the Shia leaders, including MWM’s Abdul Khaliq Asadi, also spoke.
“The Pakistan government should not put up with such acts further and take up the issue at international forum,” Asadi said.
The leaders asked the activists to end the sit-in after the police released their three workers.