Pakistani government calls in army to help disperse Islamist protesters

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan’s government on Saturday called on the military to help police break up a sit-in by religious hardliners who have blocked the main routes into Islamabad for more than two weeks, state television reported.

“Army called in to control law and situation in capital,” official Pakistan TV reported, citing an Interior Ministry notification.

Pakistani police fought running battles on Saturday with stone-throwing activists of the ultra-religious Tehreek-e-Labaik party but failed to dislodge the activist who are blocking roads into Islamabad.

By nightfall new demonstrators had joined the camp as protests spread to other main cities with activists brandishing sticks and attacking cars in some areas.

Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Alison Williams