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Violence marks Red Mosque re-opening

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Violence marks Red Mosque re-opening

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The imam appointed by the Pakistani government to lead prayers at the Red Mosque said he had arrived on his first day expecting calm. But before long a police escort was leading him away. The man who admits he didn’t want the job in the first place had been hounded out by the mosque’s followers.

Emotions were running high at the re-opening of the site, just two weeks after an army siege there left over 100 people dead. The day was marked by violent confrontations between police and Islamic students. The mosque’s hardline Islamist followers took back control of the complex, calling for the former imam to be reinstated. They also began to re-paint the walls red after the government’s refurbishment had left it cream and white.