Ahead of Bush's visit, protests rock Pakistan

Police used batons to disperse the demonstrators, some of whom trampled on the US flag.

india Updated: Mar 03, 2006 18:30 IST

Hours before the arrival of President George W Bush's visit, hundreds of anti-US protestors took to the streets in the neighbouring garrison town of Rawalpindi on Friday chanting "killer go back" and "death to America".

Police used batons to disperse the demonstrators some of whom trampled on the US flag while others carried Bush portraits with his face crossed out in red, about 6 km away from Chaklala Airforce base where Bush's Air Force One is to land after his three-day visit to India.

Security forces geared up for Bush's two-day visit, a day after the killing of an American diplomat in a bombing in Karachi, by taking up positions at strategic positions and forested hills overlooking the Pakistani capital.

The country wore a deserted look as most of the markets and transport services were closed in response to a nation-wide strike called by the Islamist alliance Muthahida Majlis Amal (MMA) to protest against cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper.

Thousands of police and army have been deployed in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Helicopters were seen flying over Islamabad particularly to comb the sprawling Margala hills.

Though it was expected that Bush would arrive late in the evening from New Delhi, there was no official word here about his programme.

Pakistan Ambassador to Washington retired General Jahangir Karamat said besides holding talks with President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday, Bush would attend a ceremony in the highly guarded US Embassy here, where he was expected to thank them.

First Published: Mar 03, 2006 18:30 IST