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Pakistan police halt march against Dutch cartoon competition

Some 10,000 supporters of the Tehreek-i-Labaik group took part in the protest.

Hard-line Islamists who marched towards Pakistan’s capital to protest against a far-right Dutch lawmaker’s plans to hold a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest have been stopped by police.

Some 10,000 supporters of the Tehreek-i-Labaik group, which helped Imran Khan to become prime minister following last month’s elections, set out on the march calling on him to cut ties with the Netherlands.

The party’s spokesman, Eijaz Ashrafi, said police halted the march in Jhelum, about 100 miles from the capital, Islamabad. He said the protesters refuse to disperse, and that police will have to “kill us” to stop the march.

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The protest was held against the planned anti-Islam cartoon competition (Fareed Khan/AP)

Physical depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam and deeply offensive to Muslims. Pakistan’s government has vowed to protest against the contest at the UN.

The cartoon contest is being organised by Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker with a history of inflammatory statements about Islam. The Dutch government has distanced itself from the contest but says it is committed to upholding the right to free speech.

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