Protests in Islamabad, Pakistan continued this weekend as dissidents demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Police clashed with protestors violently, dousing them with tear gas and injuring hundreds.
The protestors were aiming to reach the prime minister's residence Saturday night, and regrouped Sunday morning with the same goal in mind. The path up to the prime minister's residence was heavily guarded by police and barricades, and injuries continued to rise.
More than 300 people — including women, children and police officers — were admitted to two government hospitals in the Pakistani capital, medics and police said. The injured had wounds from tear gas shells, batons and rubber bullets, said Dr. Javed Akram, who heads the capital's main hospital.
Akram said 182 injured were treated at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences. He said 37 police officers were among the injured.
The government deployed 20,000 officers to maintain the protests, which have been led by Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, who both demanded of protesters that the scene remain peaceful. Protesters believe that Prime Minister Sharif was brought to power by rampant voter fraud and are seeking a fairer system in determining elections. According to the AP, protests began on August 14, Pakistan's Independence Day.
While officials say they intend to keep the protests in check, many claim they will not be backing down any time soon:
Riot police initially showed restraint during Saturday's march but when the crowd started removing shipping containers used as barricades, they fired salvos of tear gas canisters that forced the crowds back. TV footage showed protesters, including women and children, scattering in retreat. Some fell to the ground and many protesters, including several children, were shown in TV reports being treated for the effects of tear gas.
At the time of the protests on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was staying at his home in the eastern city of Lahore, where a number of other protests had erupted.
[Image via AP]