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Protesters and Police Clash in Pakistan - 2001-10-12


Islamic militants and police in Pakistan have exchanged gun fire during violent anti-American demonstrations in the commercial capital, Karachi.

Security forces in Karachi tried to control thousands of angry demonstrators, who were protesting the U-S-led air strikes in neighboring Afghanistan. Police say shots were fired from the crowd, so they fired into the air to try to calm the situation.

Witnesses say police also fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, who damaged banks and government offices. Witnesses say groups of youths hurled stones at and set fire to two U-S-based fast food restaurants.

Police are reported to have made several arrests, but there are no confirmed reports on casualties.

The government has deployed additional troops throughout the country, including the volatile cities of Quetta and Peshawar and the capital, Islamabad. Tensions are also high in the southern city of Jacobabad, where U-S support forces have been deployed to a Pakistani air base.

Friday's violence occurred despite authorities detaining top Islamic leaders in order to prevent them from leading anti-U-S demonstrations.

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