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Pakistani Police Clash with Opposition Protesters

Witnesses in Pakistan say police have used batons and tear gas to disperse at least 200 lawyers protesting President Pervez Musharraf's candidacy in next week's presidential election.

Protesters clashed with police Saturday as they tried to approach the Election Commission building from the Supreme Court.

Witnesses said police beat protesters and made several arrests.

The Election Commission today approved only six of 43 candidates who applied. Along with General Musharraf are his two main challengers - retired judge Wajihuddin Ahmed and Makhdoom Amin Fahim - the vice chairman of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party.

Next Saturday, members of parliament and provincial assemblies will choose the president.

The Supreme Court Friday dismissed legal challenges to General Musharraf's bid for a new term, allowing him to run while retaining his role as army chief.

Lawyers for the opposition said they will appeal the ruling.

The court said the issues raised in the petitions did not fall within its jurisdiction and should be decided by Pakistan's election commission.

Anti-government lawyers and opposition supporters outside the court shouted disapproval after the decision was announced. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz welcomed the decision.

President Musharraf has said he will stand down as army chief if he wins another term in office, but he plans to remain in the post if he loses.

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