Thousands continue marching to Pakistan capital

AHORE, PAKISTAN (AP) – Thousands of supporters of a banned extremist party yesterday departed the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore, clashing for a second straight day with police who lobbed tear gas into the crowd, a party spokesman and witnesses said.

The group began their journey on Friday with the goal of reaching the capital Islamabad to pressure the government to release the head of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party Saad Rizvi.

Violent clashes erupted between security forces and supporters in Lahore leaving at least two police and two demonstrators dead Friday.

Spokesman for Rizvi’s party Sajid Saifi said supporters spent the night near the Ravi River bridge and in the early morning started again towards Islamabad amid heavy tear gas. Saifi said the huge crowd removed barricades and exited the city limits but again faced security forces near the town of Kala Shah Kako.

Saifi said “many” party supporters were injured by tear gas cannisters as they attempted to leave Lahore. Witnesses said the rallygoers were on foot but some vehicles moving alongside them to take the injured to hospitals and to bring food and water.

Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, throw stones at police officers who fired teargas shells to disperse them during a protest march toward Islamabad. PHOTO: AP