Karachi police manhandle protesting healthcare providers, 25 detained

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Karachi police on Friday evening used water cannons and manhandled healthcare providers protesting on main Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road, detaining 25 including women.

Earlier, the Grand Health Alliance (GHA) a collective of healthcare workers campaigning for better working conditionsfollowed through with their threat of marching on the Sindh Chief Minister’s House after Friday prayers if the government failed to make the health risk allowance part of their salaries by noon.

The alliance had been holding a sit-in outside the Sindh Secretariat since Monday. The protesters were stopped outside DJ Science College after Friday prayers by police who erected temporary barriers on Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road. South SSP Syed Asad Raza had earlier told that negotiations were ongoing with the protesters. But shortly before 5pm, footage on TV channels showed policemen manhandling the protesters and dragging them along the floor. Woman officers were also seen detaining female protesters. SSP Raza later that the Sindh government had issued a notification constituting a committee for holding talks with the protesters.

The officer said the officials showed the notification to the protesters and asked them to vacate the main artery. “But the protesters rejected the notification and demanded the health minister personally visit them and assure them their demands will be accepted,” SSP Raza said.

He went on to say that the protesting doctors and paramedics had blocked the main road, causing trouble for commuters. “As a result, police called in the riot squad which used water cannons to disperse them and detained 25 protesters, including 10 women,” he said.SSP Raza said the female protesters would likely be released while the male protesters would be prosecuted under relevant laws. He also denied the claim that police resorted to baton-charging the doctors and paramedics.

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