Police pepper coffin-carrying protesters with tear gas

Peshawar Pakistan AFP-JIJI

Police in northwestern Pakistan fired tear gas shells early Thursday to disperse coffin-carrying demonstrators who refused to bury 14 people allegedly killed in a raid by security forces, officials said.

The predawn operation was launched about 13 hours after around 300 people staged a sit-in outside the governor’s house in the northwestern city of Peshawar along with bodies of those killed in the raid Tuesday night. The protesters blamed security forces and refused to bury the corpses until they get justice.

“We used tear gas and dispersed the protesters because they were creating a law and order situation,” senior police officer Kamal Hussain said, adding the bodies were taken to their hometown of Bara and handed to the local administration for burial.

Local police station chief Shabih Hussain confirmed the tear gas shelling, adding that 17 people were arrested and later released. Residents said armed men attacked five homes in Bara on Tuesday night and killed 14 residents.