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Supporters Rally For Suspended Chief Justice in Pakistan

Hundreds of supporters cheered Pakistan's suspended chief justice Saturday as he began another of a series of cross-country processions, where he has been greeted by crowds demanding the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf.

Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry left the eastern city of Lahore early Saturday headed for the city of Multan to address a large rally later in the day.

On Thursday, protesters in Lahore called on the president to resign for suspending Chaudhry from the bench in March on charges of misconduct. The crowd burned a U.S. flag to protest American support for General Musharraf.

Critics accuse the president of meddling with the independence of Pakistan's judiciary to smooth his bid to retain the dual posts of president and army chief of staff.

Protests have been held in Pakistan's biggest cities since the suspension, growing into the strongest public challenge to the presidency since General Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup eight years ago.

Pakistan's Supreme Court is hearing a petition by Chaudhry contesting his suspension on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.