Pakistan 'Long March' protest draws tens of thousands to capital
Source: Los Angeles Times
By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
January 14, 2013, 5:43 p.m.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Tens of thousands of protesters led by a firebrand Islamic cleric descended on the Pakistani capital Monday in a fierce outpouring of anger and frustration with the government that many worried could destabilize the country ahead of national elections this spring.
The size of Tahirul Qadri's "Long March" to Islamabad from the eastern city of Lahore appeared to fall far short of his predictions of more than a million people.
The caravan of hundreds of buses, vans, motorcycles and cars jammed with demonstrators was allowed to enter the capital and hold a rally on a main thoroughfare roughly two miles from parliament.
There, about 2 a.m. Tuesday, legions of angry Pakistanis heard Qadri promise to dissolve parliament and make President Asif Ali Zardari "an ex-president." There were no official estimates of the crowd size, but Pakistani media estimated the rally had drawn as many as 40,000 people.