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Pakistani Security Forces Clear Protesters From State TV


Reports say Pakistani security forces have cleared antigovernment protesters from the state TV headquarters after they seized the building and took the channel off air.

Reports say the protesters left the PTV headquarters in the Pakistani capital Islamabad peacefully, escorted by paramilitary forces, and that the channel was back on air.

There were no immediate reports of violence.

Protesters led by opposition politician Imran Khan and populist cleric Tahir-ul Qadri have been demonstrating for weeks, calling for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign.

Three people were killed and hundreds injured on August 30 when demonstrators tried to storm Sharif's residence.

Earlier on September 1, there were fresh clashes as protesters armed with stones and sticks again tried to break through police lines and reach the prime minister's residence.

Police fired tear gas at protesters who tried to push closer to the building.

A number of police officers were reported to have been injured.

It was not clear whether Sharif was at home at the time.

He is due to address both houses of parliament on September 2 in an apparent effort to show that he is firmly in control.

Tens of thousands of protesters have been holding rallies in Islamabad since August 15, demanding Sharif resign.

They accuse him of corruption and massive vote fraud in the election that brought him to power last year.

Sharif denies the accusations and has refused to step down.

The army has called on the government and protesters to resolve their differences peacefully.

But military officials on August 31 warned that the army -- which has often seized power in Pakistan through military coups -- had "serious concern" about the crisis and the "violent turn it has taken."

With reporting from Reuters and AFP

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