Red Zone to be sealed ahead of workers’ protest

ISLAMABAD: The capital administration and police are all set to seal the Red Zone ahead of a joint protest by unions, associations, organisations, tehreeks and etihads against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and government ‘anti-worker’ policies.

Officials from the capital administration and police told Dawn that government employees, teachers, pensioners, labourers, railway workers, students, technical employees, farmers and other unions, associations, organisations, tehreeks and etihads have announced a countrywide protest today (Wednesday) against the IMF and the government’s anti-worker policies in front of Parliament House.

The leaders of various bodies met in Islamabad on Tuesday to finalise a strategy for the protest, they said. Details of the meeting collected by the police and administration found that they intend to gather at Polyclinic Chowk and march towards Parliament House.

Red Zone to be sealed ahead of workers’ protest

They will also decide on whether to hold a sit-in and a hunger strike, which will be announced by the leaders at the protest. Thousands are expected to participate.

In view of the expected number of protesters, the administration and police have decided to seal the Red Zone and around 50 shipping containers have been arranged to be placed at five points of entry into the area.

The shipping containers will be used to seal points of entry according to the route the protesters take, they said.

So far, the orders are to stop the protesters before the Red Zone and none of them will enter the area, they added.

Arrangements have also been made to maintain law and order. Officials said paramilitary personnel are being deployed in the Diplomatic Enclave and sensitive locations in the Red Zone as per directions from the concerned authorities.

A police contingent, including officials from the Counter Terrorism Department, Anti-Terrorism Squad, Anti-Riot Unit and reserves are also being deployed in and around the Red Zone in three rings, they said, and riot gear has been arranged as well.

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