ISLAMABAD, Sept 21: The twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi turned into a battlefield on Friday as people protesting against the anti-Islam film clashed with police in different areas. Over 45 people, including 21 policemen, were injured and 35 protesters arrested.
The massive clash between the police and demonstrators took place in Khyaban-i-Suharwardi, near Serena Hotel. The place is at a stone’s throw from the diplomatic enclave, I.J. Principal Road, Islamabad Highway and Benazir Bhutto Road.
Islamabad’s Tarnol police station was attacked, and occupied, by a mob of 4,000 people after an armed clash with policemen.
An ASI suffered bullet injuries and five other policemen were wounded during the scuffle. Police reinforcements wrested back control of the station after resorting to massive teargas shelling.
Over 2,000 protesters attacked the toll plaza on I.J. Principal Road, uprooted it and burnt its booths. They also damaged five vehicles.
Police posts in Sabzi Mandi, Faizabad and Suharwardi Road were burnt. Shamsabad police post was also damaged.
At least 45 buses were damaged in Pirwadhai, while a CNG station was come under attack in Faizabad. Protesters also destroyed a KFC outlet in Saddar. According to police, several shops were ransacked by the mob in Pirwadhai. A large number of people gathered outside Lal Masjid and in Aabpara shortly after Friday prayers to march towards the US Embassy.
Hundreds of people also gathered in Faizabad and tried to march towards the enclave, but they were intercepted by a contingent of police who fired teargas shelling and rubber bullets to disperse them.
But the protesters forced police to beat a retreat, managing to reach Suharwardi Road and join the demonstrators there.
They broke the first and second lines of defence consisting of containers on the road and pushed police to the third line in front of Serena Hotel. Control of the area oscillated between police and the protesters on a number of times.
The protesters pelted police with stones and attacked them with sticks. Police retaliated with baton-charge and shelling.
The protesters later tried to cross the third line of defence and climbed up containers placed on the road. But police beat them back after firing rubber bullets and teargas shelling.
This continued till the evening and at one stage a police contingent was surrounded by the mob and manhandled badly. They were later rescued by their colleagues.
The protesters were later pushed back to Aabpara and dispersed by police.