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Thousands rally for Pakistan chief justice

Story Highlights

NEW: More than 500 arrested in rallies across the country
NEW: Hearing reconvenes on Wednesday
• Musharraf has accused appointee Chaudhry of misusing his powers
• Lawyers have been boycotting courts in response to Chaudhry's removal
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Thousands of people defied a citywide security crackdown in Islamabad Friday to rally outside the Supreme Court against the latest judicial hearing into alleged abuses of power by suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Police made more than 500 arrests at similar rallies held across the country.

Police placed coils of barbed wire across roads to prevent vehicles from approaching the white marble court complex where Chaudhry faced a panel of judges, The Associated Press reported. (Watch crowds rallying in support Video)

The hearing adjourned by midday and will reconvene on Wednesday.

Opposition parties have launched a "Save the Judiciary" movement in support of lawyers, who have been boycotting the courts in response to Chaudhry's removal by President Pervez Musharraf.

On March 9, Musharraf suspended Chaudhry, accusing him of misusing his powers. Chaudhry was subsequently placed under house arrest -- outraging many Pakistanis, in addition to the country's attorneys.

More than a dozen superior and civil court judges have resigned over the matter, along with a deputy attorney general, Nasir Saeed Sheikh.

Chaudhry was appointed to the court by Musharraf in 2005, but ran foul of Musharraf when he exercised independence from the government in a number of cases involving the disappearance of terror suspects and human rights activists.

The street protests have failed to attract the kind of crowds that could pose an immediate threat to Musharraf's rule, which began with a bloodless coup in 1999.

CNN's Syed Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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