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Kite ban sparks violent protests

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A man carries a kite for flying from a roof during annual festival in Lahore.

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Pakistan
Supreme Court

LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) -- Many residents, outraged that the Pakistani Supreme Court upheld a ban on kite-flying, have staged a massive protest outside the courthouse in Lahore, which turned violent after police attempted to disperse the crowd.

Police carrying batons charged the crowd at the end of the hearing, wounding dozens of people who were taken to a hospital.

Friday's demonstration took place outside the Pakistan's high court in Lahore, which earlier in the day decided not to lift the kite-flying ban until the case is next heard in January. The high court ordered provincial governments to strictly enforce the ban.

The Supreme Court's permanent seat is in Islamabad, but it also runs circuits at Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.

The high court said it banned the activity because several people have been killed by the kite's thin string.

Defense attorney Malik Qayyum argued that the court does not have the authority to ban the activity, which protesters say is an important part of their culture, because there is no law dealing with the kite-flying in Pakistan.

More protests are planned for Saturday in Lahore, Karachi, and other cities.

Residents of Pakistan's Punjab province, especially the city of Lahore, delight in kite flying from mid-January to mid-February, especially during Basant days. Basant had its beginnings as a Hindu festival, but as different religions came into the area, it became a secular festival.

There is also a kite-flying festival in March which attracts enthusiasts from all over the world.

CNN Producer Syed Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this report.

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