Protesters ignited four of the city’s leading cinema theatres, the Chamber of Commerce building and looted shops around the city.
Hundreds of protesters marched towards Firdous Cinema on GT Road and set it on fire, completely destroying the theatre. Although the police disbursed the crowd by aerial firing, protesters reappeared soon after. The mob broke furniture inside the theatre, while remaining valuables were stolen.
Another group of protesters set alight Naz Cinema near the Lady Reading Hospital at Asmai Gate as police failed to control the mob. Protesters then headed towards Shama Cinema at Bacha Khan Chowk and set it ablaze.
The Capital Cinema in Saddar was also considerably damaged when protesters broke its main gate. They entered the building and grabbed anything valuable they could get hold of.
“There were looters and thieves among the protesters. They were carrying small arms and used the opportunity to steal computers, furniture and other valuables from buildings, shops and offices,” said witness Suleman Khan, while talking to The Express Tribune.
Instead of carrying out the protests peacefully, the protesters even took away the steel partition on a road in Hashtnagri area.
Police contingents around the city were insufficient to control the thousands of rioters. Particularly on University Road, there were not enough personnel, which led to mobile service provider Zong’s office being ignited.
Buildings of KFC, Muslim Commercial Bank, Allied Bank, Shiraz Restaurant and Usmania Restaurants were also damaged during attacks throughout the day. Another witness Yasin Khan said the protestors were armed with automatic rifles and were able to keep police at a safe distance.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2012.