MUZAFFARABAD: Traders on Saturday began shutting down shops after Shaukat Nawaz Mir, President of the traders body in Muzaffarabad, announced that they would protest against the harsh treatment of police towards the protesters in different AJK cities in recent days.
Authorities had launched an operation against the protesters who staged sit-ins at Rawalakot, Bagh and Kotli against high electricity bills.
With the announcement of Saturday’s strike, the Muzaffarabad traders also decided to lead a rally towards the Azadi Chowk. The police tried to stifle the protest by bringing down the camp of protesters set up at the Azadi Chowk early morning. Several leaders of the trading community along with protesters were arrested.
A large contingent of police was deployed in an attempt to stop the protesters from coming onto the main roads, as the situation was getting tense.
The police used tear gas and batons against the protesters after clashes broke out.
Reports said at least five people were arrested, including Faisal Jameel Kashmiri, a member of the Awami Action Committee. The clashes caused more people to take to the streets and the situation remained tense as of Saturday noon.