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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 April, 2005, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Clashes over Pakistan road race
Map of Pakistan
Pakistani police have clashed with demonstrators protesting against the participation of women in a 10km road race in eastern Pakistan.

A police chief in Gujranwala, 200km (120 miles) southeast of the capital, Islamabad, said 10 people were hurt.

Protestors opened fire on the police near a stadium where the race was due to end, while the police fired into the air to disperse the attackers.

The group that called for the protest said police fired without provocation.

'Undress the nation'

The clashes erupted after supporters of the Islamic religious parties alliance (MMA) attacked the men and women contesting the race with batons and stones, police said.

The protesters blocked the race course and chased competitors away as they approached the sports stadium where they were expected to finish race.

A spokesman for the MMA told the Associated Press news agency that the alliance had warned organisers against holding the race "because it is against Islam".

"They want to undress the entire nation," Riaz Durrani said.

"It is indecent for women to run in the streets. They want the sisters and sisters-in-law of the nation to wear knickers and T-shirts."

Two months ago Islamic groups strongly criticised a race in Lahore, saying the female participants had violated Muslim dress code.

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