"Pakistan Spring" Escalates; 3 Dead, Over 470 Injured As "Soft Coup" Hardens http://tinyurl.com/l6k7cx8
2:17 PM - 1 Sep 2014 Greece, Greece
(Live) Army chief summons Corps Commanders meeting today http://tribune.com.pk/story/756071/islamabad-sit-in-updates-imran-says-they-will-not-spare-sharif-brothers-for-attacking-unarmed-protesters/ … #Pakistan
Stones litter the ground as both sides continue pelting each other in IBD. Although police also using rubber bullets.
PTI supporters have blocked a section of 7th Ave, are threatening passing motorists.
Protesters throwing rocks at police and tear gas still being fired here. Some protesters setting fires.
Retweeted by Asad Hashim
Primal atmosphere cries of Allah is great from both sides . Police and protestors #Islamabad pic.twitter.com/iC6cWD8k8T
Disastrous Turn of Events #Pakistan #AzadiSquare Aug 31, 2014 http://www.dawn.com/news/1128894/a-disastrous-turn-of-events … pic.twitter.com/ISSHPIrWzQ
Pakistan calls in reinforcement amid clashes
Thousands of additional forces called to Islamabad as anti-government protesters continue to camp outside PM's house.
Last updated: 31 Aug 2014 11:55
|Anti-government protesters have continued to clash with the police in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, as government called for reinforcements after overnight clashes left at least three dead and more than 300 injured.|
Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said on Sunday that 4,000 policemen in Punjab province have been asked to reach Islamabad by this evening.
The protesters started regrouping at daybreak on Sunday and made repeated attempts to make their way through heavy deployment of police and barricades to reach the PM's residence, the AP news agency said. Police strengthened their lines and responded by lobbing tear gas canisters, the agency added.
Thousands of followers of politician Imran Khan and religious leader Tahir ul Qadri have been camped outside parliament since August 15 demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, triggering a crisis that has raised the spectre of military intervention.
Government's offer to re-open talks with the opposition groups cut no ice with the protesters.
Information minister Pervaiz Rashid said on Sunday that the government remained open to restarting negotiations to end the situation peacefully.
"The government did not initiate the clashes. They turned violent and tried to enter sensitive government buildings, which are the symbol of the state," he said, speaking to the private Geo News channel.
"They wanted their demands to be met at gunpoint but still, our doors are open for talks."
Scores of protesters, including women, carrying hammers and iron rods broke down a fence outside the parliament building late on Saturday, enabling hundreds of people to enter the lawns and parking area, according to an AP photographer at the scene.
Islamabad police chief Khalid Khattak told the AP that the protesters were armed with large hammers, wire cutters, axes and even a crane.
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.
Opposition groups, who claim the last year's general election which swept Sharif to power was rigged, attempted to storm the prime minister's offical residence on Saturday night, using cranes to remove barricades.
Backed by parliament and many political parties, Sharif has refuses to step down.
Al Jazeera and agencies
Anti-government protests continue in Pakistan
At least three killed and 300 injured as anti-government protesters clash with police near PM's residence in Islamabad.
Asad HashimLast updated: 31 Aug 2014 10:29
|Islamabad - At least three people have killed and more than 300 others have been injured as police clashed with thousands of anti-government protesters in the Pakistani capital, as the country’s political crisis turned violent outside the Prime Minister’s official residence.|
By Sunday morning sporadic clashes were continuing between police in riot gear and a few hundred protesters, as thousands more lay on the grass and slept.
Several vehicles stood torched and hundreds of tear gas canisters lay strewn on the ground on Islamabad's Constitution Avenue following more than 12 hours of battle.
The clashes broke out on Saturday night after thousands of supporters of opposition leaders Tahir-ul-Qadri and Imran Khan attempted to remove a barricade as they approached the PM’s residence.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the protesters, some of whom fought back with wooden batons, while others threw stones and the occasional firebomb in the heart of Islamabad’s high-security "red zone".
"We left to occupy the area outside the PM house in a peaceful way," said Muhammad Imran, 25, a Qadri supporter who suffered five rubber bullet wounds. "The police came and fired directly on us and on others in the crowd."
At least 25 police personnel were also injured in the clashes.
"When we fired tear gas to disperse them, they started throwing rocks at us," said Shakeel Ahmed, a 45-year-old police officer whose leg was injured by a thrown rock. "It was so intense that I had to run away."
Supporters of Khan and Qadri have been holding a sit-in near the parliament since August 14 call for the resignation of the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif over alleged vote rigging.
Earlier on Friday, talks between government negotiators and teams from both Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) broke down, as several earlier rounds had.
On Thursday the military, which has ruled the country for roughly half of its 67 years of independence, stepped into the crisis, assuming a "mediation role" between the protesters and government
Khan alleges vote rigging in the 2013 general election which Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party swept to power.
Qadri, meanwhile, wants a "national government" of technocrats and bureaucrats, who would then draft a new constitution and system of governance for the country.
"There is no question of resignation by Nawaz Sharif, nor any member from the government," read a statement released by the PM’s office earlier on Saturday.
Sharif is not present at the official residence in Islamabad, preferring to stay at his home in Lahore, where he normally resides.
In the wake of Saturday’s violence, the government maintained its defiant tone.
"The government will protect the buildings of state institutions. […] We will not negotiate with a gun to our head,” said Khwaja Asif, the country’s defence minister and a senior PML-N figure, while speaking to local media.
Shortly after the violence began, Khan, who remained at the protest site, called on his supporters to continue their move towards the PM’s residence.Speaking to Al Jazeera from inside his vehicle at the protest site, Qadri confirmed that "negotiations are over".
“That’s why we decided to move towards the PM house and do a sit-in and then you can see how they rained down rubber bullets and tear gas on us.”
A security source, meanwhile, confirmed to Al Jazeera that the army had been deployed to protect certain government buildings, but that they were not currently engaging protesters.