JAMRUD - Thousands of activists shouted "death to America" on Tuesday at the latest rally protesting the lifting of a seven-month blockade on NATO supplies into Afghanistan. However, there was no sign that the protesters would march on the Afghan border itself and halted their march at Jamrud.

The march was organised by the Jamaat-e-Islami, a leading member of the Defence of Pakistan Council that has demanded mass protests against the July 3 lifting of the blockade. "NATO supplies not acceptable", "Our war will continue", "Friends of US are traitors", shouted the crowd after marching from Peshawar to the nearby town of Jamrud.

Leaders of JI, which has no seats in parliament, had said 50,000 people would take part in the demonstration, but far fewer made it to Jamrud, close to Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan. Local administration official Bakhtiar Khan put the figure at between 18,000 and 20,000, although an AFP photographer estimated the numbers to be closer to 8,000 to 10,000.

"We want an end to US slavery, an end to US interference, a ban on NATO supplies through Pakistan and an end to US drone attacks on Pakistan," JI leader Munawar Hussain said, addressing the crowd.

"The war against terror has killed 40,000 people and destroyed peace in the country," he added. Pakistan on July 3 decided to reopen overland routes to NATO convoys crossing into Afghanistan, after they were closed following US air strikes that killed 24 soldiers on the Afghan border last November.

So far only a few NATO trucks have actually trickled across the border, with owners awaiting a deal on compensation for seven months' missed work and security guarantees in Karachi.

The Taliban have threatened to attack NATO trucks and their drivers. There was no sign Tuesday that the protesters would march on the Afghan border itself, despite insistence from Defence of Pakistan that they would bring a halt to NATO traffic.

Local administrator Khan said the demonstrators themselves had decided to call a halt in Jamrud, rather than continue further up the mountains to the Torkham border crossing.

"We did not create any hurdle in their protest march. They themselves decided not to go beyond Jamrud," he told AFP.

Mainstream political parties have not taken part in the anti-NATO protests.

Members of the crowd told AFP on Tuesday that Islamabad's decision to reopen the border, despite the United States eventually apologising for the deaths, was "treason".

"The rulers have sold their blood for US dollars but we will continue to oppose it," said Mohammad Amin, a shopkeeper from the northwestern Swat valley.

Officials in Karachi say the dispute on compensation could be resolved this week.

At the Afghan border crossing of Chaman, officials said only one NATO truck crossed into Afghanistan on Tuesday.

"Thirty-nine trucks carrying food supplies for NATO are parked at the border. Today we cleared eight vehicles, but only one crossed as seven others were denied entry by Afghan officials for lacking some documents," customs official Hassan Agha told AFP.