As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Most Dangerous Trouble Spot In The World Update

The "long march" has begun in Pakistan.

Police in the Pakistani city of Karachi have used sticks to beat up protesters as lawyers and political activists began an anti-government protest march.

Organisers intend the four-day march from cities across Pakistan to culminate in a sit-in at the parliament in the capital, Islamabad, on Monday.

They want President Asif Ali Zardari to fulfil a pledge to reinstate all judges sacked under his predecessor.

The government says the march is aimed at destabilising the country.

Police say they have arrested more than 400 opposition activists in the past few days.

The authorities have also banned political gatherings across the country, saying they could trigger bloodshed.

Right now organizers are describing this as a peaceful march. And I believe them. But mass arrests and violent incidents are not necessarily going to be met with calm. It's just a very tense situation, and Zardari's popularity is plummeting. Pervez Musharraf lost his job after fights with the same groups and attempts to crack down on the independent judiciary.

More in The New York Times. The government is saying that they've banned the protest march, but it continues. These are very nervous times in Pakistan. Banning the freedom to peaceably assemble is anti-democratic, and I don't know how the lawyers can possibly achieve their goals without toppling the Zardari government. I fear chaos.

Labels: , , ,