Pakistani police backed by armored vehicles detained opposition leader Benazir Bhutto at her Islamabad residence Friday and reportedly rounded up 5,000 of her supporters to block her mass protest against emergency rule.
Authorities were adamant the rally Bhutto planned in nearby Rawalpindi would not go ahead - under the government's emergency powers declared a week ago, mass gatherings are banned. Mayor Javed Akhlas also said there was a "credible report" of six or seven suicide bombers in the city.
"We condemn this government move. It shows that the government is scared of Benazir Bhutto's popularity and it does not want her to be among masses," said Sen. Babar Awan, Bhutto's lawyer.
There was confusion among her aides about whether she still planned to go to the venue in Rawalpindi, which had been sealed off by riot police backed by armored vehicles. The headquarters of Pakistan's army and President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's residence are also located in the city.