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Dozens of protesting Sikhs push into grounds of Pakistan's parliament, demand protection

People from Pakistani Sikh community rally in the compound of the parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, May 23, 2014. Dozens of baton-wielding Sikhs pushed past the front gate and entered the grounds of Pakistan's parliament Friday, protesting recent attacks on their houses of worship. Banner reads

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People from Pakistani Sikh community rally in the compound of the parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, May 23, 2014. Dozens of baton-wielding Sikhs pushed past the front gate and entered the grounds of Pakistan's parliament Friday, protesting recent attacks on their houses of worship. Banner reads "Arrest the desecrators." (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

ISLAMABAD - Dozens of baton-wielding Sikhs pushed past the front gate and entered the grounds of Pakistan's parliament on Friday as they protested against recent attacks on their houses of worship.

Sikhs staged a two-hour sit-in on the parliament's lawn in Islamabad before dispersing after speaking with police officials and lawmakers from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N party, senior police officer Aftab Cheema said. They the Sikhs they'd receive full protection, Cheema added.

Cheema said investigators would look into how protesters made it past the gate.

Zafar Ali Shah, a lawmaker from the PML-N party of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told reporters that the Sikh leaders protested against several attacks on their places of worship in southern Sindh province.

"We assured them that the government will provide them full protection, and they peacefully dispersed," he said.

Darshan Singh, a lawmaker from the minority Sikh community, said the protesters apologized over entering the parliament grounds.

Sikhs are a tiny minority in predominantly Muslim Pakistan. Most of them live in Sindh province. They have never held such a protest in the past.

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