PESHAWAR: Activists of political and religious parties protested outside the US consulate in Peshawar against the anti-Islam film released in the US, Express News reported on Tuesday. The protesters were trying to reach the consulate.
A peaceful protest turned violent, as the police retaliated against the protesters by firing tear-gas shells, aerial firing and baton charge to disperse the large crowd.
Activists were adamant on entering the consulate building via the central gate and burn the American flag there.
According to initial reports, a few protestors were also armed and had fired at the police.
At least two activists were reported injured.
Armored vehicles had to be deployed, shortly, to the consulate to prevent protesters from getting into the consulate.
“We used tear gas shells and lobbed gas grenades because the protesters were trying to come closer to the sensitive area,” senior police officer Imtiaz Khan told AFP.
Two Frontier Constabulary (FC) check posts had been setup outside the central gate as well as a large contingent of policemen were deployed in the area, including Saddar University road and around the consulate.
Khan said that more than 1,000 police were on hand to block the road to the US consulate.
The protest call was announced two days back by Shabab-e-Milli (youth wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami), Islami Jamiat Talaba and MWM, with members gathered from the city and surrounding areas as well.
However, protesters included activists of other political and religious parties as well.
Addressing the crowd, local JI leader Shabbir Ahmed lashed out at the United States, demanding the Pakistani government expel the American ambassador and close its missions in Pakistan.
“We are ready to sacrifice our lives to uphold the dignity of our Prophet,” he said.
Regarding the staffers present in the consulate, according to sources most of them had been shifted to Islamabad citing security reasons, however a few local staffers, related to technical jobs, and consulate security personnel were still present in the consulate.