QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — About 3,500 Pakistani Shiites protested in southwestern Pakistan for a second day on Saturday, blocking a main road with dozens of coffins of relatives killed in explosions to demand better security from the government.
Police in the city of Quetta had earlier said that the protest had ended, but a prominent Shiite leader Ibrahim Hazara said it would continue until the city was handed over to the army and the provincial government was dismissed.
Some 50 coffins blocked the road near a place where Shiites worship in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province. Shiites protested to condemn security lapses they say were responsible for Thursday's twin bombings of a billiards hall that killed 86 people.
"My son went to a billiards hall to play, but now I am sitting with his body here. I want to know what was the fault of my son and who killed him and why?" said Begum Dilawar Shah.
The dead included police, rescuers and journalists who rushed there in response to the first attack on the billiards hall, which was located in a predominantly Shiite area.
Mohsina Hissaini, who was sobbing near the coffins, said one of her cousins was among those who responded to the first attack.
"Every month, our people are killed in gun attacks or with bombs," she said. "We need security."
On Friday, Shiites laid about 50 of their dead on the street, saying they would not bury them until the government improved security. Islamic custom dictates that the dead be buried as soon possible.
Hazara said their protest would continue until their demands were accepted.
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