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Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 14:25 GMT
Eyewitnesses: Clamping down on Bhutto
BBC correspondents describe how a day of arrests, defiance and violence unfolded in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, where Benazir Bhutto was placed under house arrest and neighbouring Rawalpindi, where police stopped her supporters holding a rally.

CHRIS MORRIS, outside Ms Bhutto's house, Islamabad

The police presence outside Benazir Bhutto's house has been growing throughout the day.

Benazir Bhutto outside her house
Ms Bhutto says her supporters will continue to oppose Gen Musharraf

They've just added a couple of lines of columns of barbed wire at the end of the road where her house is situated.

She has been trying to get out of her house at least to speak to the media, even if not to be able to address the supporters.

We're told she got past one road block but was unable to get past the next and she has now been served with this detention order.

Outside the police cordon where we are, every 15 minutes or so a car pulls up and four or five members of her party jump out and start shouting slogans - "Benazir for prime minister", "Down with Musharraf."

But within a few moments they are surrounded by police - some in uniform, some in plain clothes.

They are unceremoniously dragged away in the big blue police van which takes them away from here.

Enhancing credibility

The police seem to have a total lock on this rather leafy upmarket district of Islamabad, and there is no way that Benazir Bhutto is going to do what she wants to do, which is get out of her house today.

Overall it is probably not a bad thing for her the way the day is proceeding because this is enhancing her democratic credibility.

Some of the other opposition parties here have been very critical of her for negotiating with General Musharraf about a possible power-sharing deal.

She maintains she has been opposing the state of emergency as much as anyone else.

While she is under arrest, her party workers will continue to struggle, she says.

And that will probably be one thing that General Musharraf would be concerned about because he knows she is one politician in Pakistan who has the ability to bring large numbers of people out onto the streets.

SHOAIB HASAN, Rawalpindi

"Clear out of here, if you stand around a suicide bomber may come in and blow us all up."

The speaker was a police constable, part of a massive police presence aimed at preventing supporters of Benazir Bhutto taking part in a much-heralded rally in the city of Rawalpindi, close to the capital, Islamabad.

Bhutto supporters throw stones at police in Rawalpindi
Bhutto supporters throw stones at police in Rawalpindi

Dozens of such checkpoints were placed all over the city, making life a misery for travellers.

We even saw an ambulance being turned away at one checkpoint.

As we approached the park that was the scene of the planned rally, the presence of security forces grew on the otherwise deserted roads.

The final few kilometres had to be covered on foot, as no vehicles were allowed near the venue.

Dozens of policemen in riot gear on foot and on horse back were stationed at the entrances to the park.

A couple of armoured personnel carriers were also strategically located at the gates to prevent any movement inside.

Other than the police, several journalists were visible.

Conspicuous by their absence were the activists of Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party.

Galvanised

But soon after our arrival a small group of activists did manage to make their way there via side streets.

Chanting slogans they approached to within a few hundred yards of the park.

Sighting them, the police were immediately galvanised into action.

Beating on their shields and shouting what seemed like war cries, the police chased the activists back down the side streets.

The activists retreated, pelting rocks at the police, who responded by throwing some right back.

Stones, pieces of brick and mortar were strewn over the main road as the fighting moved into the locality.

The battles then continued in the side lanes over the next few hours.

The police used batons, stones and eventually tear gas in the narrow streets to bring the demonstrators under control.

The activists fought back with stones and slogans.

Some were arrested and dragged off to the nearby police vans after being meted out a sound thrashing.





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