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Lift the blockade on the Long March from Balochistan to Islamabad!

Statement by the League for the Fifth International, International Secretariat 

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After covering thousands of kilometres on foot, a protest march by activists from Balochistan has been stopped by the authorities and encircled by the police outside the town Wazirabad (a town in Punjab province, approximately 100 kilometres north of Lahore on Monday, February 17th 2014.

Currently, the police authorities are threatening to arrest more than 20 marchers of the Long March and local supporters who have joined the Baloch marchers.

A small number of dedicated people are exercising their democratic right to protest against the decades of national oppression of the Baloch people, which includes the hundreds of killings and “disappearances” in the last weeks alone.

They have made this into a public issue and this seems to be too much for the “democratic government ” of Pakistan. That is the only “crime” these activists are accused of. This is, why the march has been stopped and the demonstrators are threatened with arrests, before they can reach Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad. Marchers have received threatening phone calls telling them to turn back or face harsh repression

We condemn this suppression of the democratic right to peaceful protest and denounce any arrests or violence against marchers by the police. We demand the immediate lifting of the blockade so that they can continue.

We urge readers, in particular members of labour organisations, socialist and working class parties to protest against this via mail or fax to the Pakistani authorities. Those able should join the marchers at the scene.

 

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