Christian school attacked in Pakistan, arrests

LAHORE (Pakistan) - POLICE on Saturday arrested several stone-wielding demonstrators who smashed up a Christian school and attempted to attack a church following protests against the alleged desecration of a Quran.

A crowd of around 500 gathered in the suburbs of Gujranwala district near Lahore, the main town of central Punjab province, after two burnt pages of the Islamic holy book were recovered from a Christian graveyard, police said.

Local clerics blamed the Christian community for the incident and used speeches at mosques on Saturday morning to inform others and call a protest against the alleged blasphemy.

In the afternoon, more than 500 rock and stone carrying demonstrators marched towards a church and attempted to attack it after smashing a Christian missionary school, police said.

'They entered the school and broke the furniture there. They tried to march towards a Church but we have dispersed them,' Ghulam Mubashir Mekan, senior police officer in Gujranwala told AFP by telephone.

'We have arrested several protesters, the situation is still tense,' he said. Nadeem Anthony, a social activist who visited the area, confirmed the incident. 'Several Christian families have left the area,' he told AFP. Residents said around 2,500 Christians are living there.