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August 14, 2014 AT 9:05 AM
Riot police sealed off Pakistan's capital with barbed wire and shipping containers on the eve of Independence Day, in a bid to foil mass protests aimed at toppling embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Two groups, led by cricket star-turned-opposition politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, plan to converge on Islamabad on Thursday to press Sharif to call an early election little over a year after his landslide victory at the polls. Police said on Wednesday they had detained 2,100 followers of the two figures in the past few days and it was uncertain how many protesters would reach the city. A late night court ruling, however, implied Khan's march might be allowed to go ahead.