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Thousands of protesters throng Islamabad

Article published on the 2008-06-13 Latest update 2008-06-14 09:41 TU

The lawyers march reaches Rawalpindi (Photo: Reuters)

The lawyers march reaches Rawalpindi
(Photo: Reuters)

Cheering crowds welcomed at least 30,000 thousand Pakistani lawyers and their supporters as they entered the city of Rawalpindi on Friday. Six thousand paramilitary troops and police were deployed in Islamabad as the protesters vowed to stage a sit-in outside parliament until the government restores chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The paramiltaries and police have unrolled coils of barbed wire and installed shipping containers to block access to parliament and the presidential palace.

The motorcade of about 400 cars and buses has come from the eastern city of Lahore.

"Parliament must now respect the sentiments of people, the people have spoken and they want the restoration of the judges," said Supreme Court Bar Association chief Aitzaz Ahsan, who is also a member of the ruling People's Party.

But the government says that it cannot reinstate the judges until the constitution has been changed.

"We appreciate that the reinstatement of judges which was done by unlawful means should not be changed by another unlawful act," People's Party representative Sherry Rehmann told RFI.