Pakistani police fire tear gas against power outage protesters

15:25, June 18, 2011      

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Pakistani anti-riot police Friday fired tear gas shells and used batons to disperse demonstrators near capital Islamabad who were protesting against long power outage in the country, witnesses said.

Pakistan is facing the worst power shortage in summer, forcing the authorities to observe hours of load-shedding across the country.

Major cities including Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore are having nearly 7-hour load-shedding and power supply is suspended in small cities and rural areas for more than 12 hours a day.

People in the garrison city of Rawalpindi took to the street and destroyed a check point jointly manned by the police and the paramilitary force near a main bus station.

The protesters also threw stones at the police and snatched two vehicles of the police and smashed glasses of the vehicles. They also destroyed sign boards on the road, witnesses said.

TV footage showed hide-and-seek between the police and the protesters. The police fired tear gas shells and used batons to disperse the protesters at Pir Wadhai area, where the main bus station is located.

Traffic on busy main double road, which divides the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, was suspended. It caused problems for thousands of people and a large number of vehicles were stranded on the road.

Protesters also beat a cameraman of a local private TV channel, who was filming the protesters throwing stones at the police.

Several protesters were taken into custody during the protest.

Reports of protest have also been received from other cities at a time when temperature shot up to 40 degree and even higher in several cities.

Due to excessive demand in the country, Pakistan faces thousands of megawatt power shortage.

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