You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Student Action Committee, Lahore Protest at Liberty Chowk

Student in many of the major cities of Pakistan gathered today in a coordinated mass protest. In Lahore, student protestors from 21 universities converged at Liberty Chowk today under the banner of Student Action Committee Lahore. They wore black armbands and brandished colourful placards. They were also joined by some lawyers, doctors and other members of the civil society, and a total of nearly six hundred people circled the roundabout in a human chain. They vigourously shouted pro-judiciary slogans, with a number of students making speeches calling for first and foremost the immediate restoration of the judiciary and then the devolution of power to the common people through a free and fair electoral process, with a withdrawal of military influence from all civilian affairs. The students stressed that no one should expect their movement to soon fizzle out, for they are definitely in it for the long haul and would not stop agitating for the cause of truth and justice. The students made it clear that no elections would be considered legitimate without the restoration of the pre-Nov 3rd judiciary. The gathering dispersed after the singing of the national anthem and distribution of flyers aiming to spread awareness about their demands. As one student said, "We have proved today that people do not need to fear student politics. We have not triggered chaos and violence. We made sure to make our protest totally peaceful and also totally environment friendly, with not even a single flower being trampled and no littering on the grass. The students of Pakistan have come out with a sincere desire to work for and call for the welfare of our nation." The protest took place facing hundreds of members of the Elite Police Force, who initially issued an ultimatum to the protestors to disperse within fifteen minutes or else face arrests. Faced with loud refusals by the students, however, the police remained on the sidelines and the protestors continued their rally for an hour.

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