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Pakistan blocks Islamist march against Dutch cartoon contest

ISLAMABAD — Hard-line Islamists who started a march toward Pakistan’s capital to protest a far-right Dutch lawmaker’s plans to hold a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest have been stopped by police.

Some 10,000 supporters of the Tehreek-i-Labaik group, which helped Imran Khan to become prime minister following last month’s elections, set out on the march Wednesday, calling on him to cut ties with the Netherlands.

The party’s spokesman, Eijaz Ashrafi, says police halted the march on Thursday in Jhelum, some 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the capital, Islamabad. He says the protesters refuse to disperse, and that police will have to “kill us” to stop the march.

Physical depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam and deeply offensive to Muslims. Pakistan’s government has vowed to protest the contest at the U.N.