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Pakistani police clash with supporters of anti-government cleric

Published on Jun 23, 2014 12:13 PM

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (REUTERS) - Pakistani police fired tear gas on Monday to disperse crowds of supporters of a prominent anti-government cleric who was due to arrive in the country to lead a self-proclaimed revolution against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

A Reuters reporter at the scene said about 2,000 supporters of Mr Tahirul Qadri, who is usually based in Canada, clashed with police outside an airport near the capital Islamabad where the cleric had been due to land at 7 am (10 am, Singapore time) on Monday.

Amid chaotic scenes at Benazir Bhutto International Airport, it was not immediately clear if his plane had landed as planned.

Police cordoned off major roads leading to the airport with cargo containers and blocked mobile phone services to prevent protesters from communicating with each other.

Female supporters of Tahirul Qadri, a Sufi cleric and the leader of the Awami Tehreek political party, hold his portrait during a protest in Karachi, condemning the deaths of their party's workers in Lahore on June 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 
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