Muslim protests rumble on against anti-Islam film
24 September, 2012
DUBAI/DHAKA/TEHRAN: Muslims in different parts of the world continued protests on Sunday to show anger against the anti-Islam film and cartoons published by a French magazine.
US flags were once again burnt in parts of the Muslim world. Shia Muslims in the Nigerian town of Katsina burned US, French and Israeli flags and a religious leader called for protests to continue until the makers of the film and cartoons were punished.
In Turkey, protesters set fire to US and Israeli flags on Sunday. "May the hands that touch Muhammad (PBUH) break," chanted some 200 protesters before peacefully dispersing.
"We will certainly not allow uncontrolled protests, but we will not just grin and bear it when Islam's prophet is insulted," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told party members at the weekend.
Most schools, shops and offices were closed in Bangladesh as opposition parties enforced a nationwide strike to protest against the anti-Islam film. Thousands of police patrolled Dhaka and roads were quiet across the country. About 40 activists were briefly detained after they tried to barricade a main road and threw bricks at police, local Dhaka police chief Abul Kashem told AFP.
In Chittagong, protesters torched a bus and damaged a police van, police said, adding that three students had been arrested. Several Islamic parties that are allied with the main opposition party called the strike to protest over the blasphemous film and cartoons.
Iranian students chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" outside the French Embassy in Tehran in protest against the publishing of blasphemous cartoons by a magazine, Charlie Hebdo. No violence was reported.
Witnesses said one officer fired a blank round in warning after a protester threw an egg that hit the outside of the embassy. The demonstration ended after around 90 minutes. The embassy took security precautions ahead of the protest, minimising staff and closing the French school in Tehran.
Also, hundreds of Saudis demonstrated against the anti-Islam film in a Shia village in the eastern province of the kingdom, witnesses said on Sunday. Chanting "Oh, messenger of Allah", the protesters marched in Awamiya late on Saturday following a call by Shia cleric Abdulkarim al Hubail. Security forces did not intervene despite a ban on demonstrations.
In Athens, some protesters hurled bottles of water, stones and shoes at police who responded with teargas. Calm returned when demonstrators interrupted the protest to pray. Hundreds of Muslim protesters staged a rally in central Athens, the first such demonstration in Greece. The protesters chanted "All we have is Muhammad" and held banners reading "We demand an immediate punishment for those who tried to mock our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)" as they prepared to march to the US embassy.
Police shut down a subway station and were considering blocking the march before it reached the heavily guarded embassy to prevent possible violence, police officials said.
Moreover, thousands of supporters in Hermel, eastern Lebanon, of the powerful militant group Hezbollah took part in the last in a series of protests against the US-made film.
"Death to America! Israel, enemy of Muslims!" chanted the crowd made of men, women in all-covering black chadors and children waving the yellow flags of the Iranian-backed movement. The protest was the fifth in a series of demonstrations called for by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah who urged supporters to vent their fury over the film.