Thousands rally in Karachi to protest film, cartoons
01 October, 2012
KARACHI/LAHORE: At least 5,000 people rallied in Karachi on Sunday to denounce the US-made anti-Islam film and the publication of blasphemous cartoons in France, police and witnesses said.
Police beefed up security for the rally, which was organised by Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, while paramilitary forces were also deployed. "Beheading is the only one punishment for blasphemy", read one banner. "We demand all French and US diplomatic missions shut in Pakistan", said another, as protesters shouted, "We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the honour of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)!"
Senior police official Amir Lodhi said "about 5,000 people were in the rally", adding that organisers made assurances they would not march towards the US consulate. The rally dispersed peacefully, an AFP reporter said.
Also on Sunday, Majlis-e-Ahrar Islam Pakistan staged a protest demonstration against the anti-Islam movie in Lahore. A large number of workers participated in the protest outside the Lahore Press Club.
The participants were carrying banners and placards inscribed with different slogans against America and Israel. They also burnt a US flag. Addressing the protesters, Qari Muhammad Yousaf and Mian Muhammad Awais condemned the moviemakers and pledged to sacrifice their lives for the honour of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The crudely made blasphemous movie has sparked angry and at times violent demonstrations across the globe.
Meanwhile, French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published the controversial cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), further inflaming Muslim sentiment.
Pakistan experienced the worst of the violence over the film when nationwide rallies mobilised more than 45,000 earlier in September, many members of rightwing religious parties. At least 21 people were killed and 229 wounded, mainly in clashes with police.
Thousands protest in Indonesia over anti-Islam film
Thousands of Indonesians on Sunday chanted anti-American slogans outside the US Embassy in Jakarta, in the latest protest against the anti-Islam film.
At least 3,000 supporters of the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) gathered outside the US mission, but there was none of the violence that erupted there earlier in September, when police clashed with protesters. Men and women wearing Muslim headscarfs and children assembled outside the building, while hundreds of police stood guard and four water cannon vehicles were at the ready.
The protesters carried banners declaring "My life for the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)", "Stop the film, Save Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)" and "Go to hell with the freedom of expression". "It is very clear now that our real enemy is America," a speaker told the crowd, who shouted "America and Israel are terrorists!"
"Prosecute and jail the filmmaker and revoke the film from YouTube, otherwise we will boycott you America," another speaker told the crowd. Jakarta police spokesman Rikwanto told AFP about 400 police personnel were deployed. More than 30 people have been killed in violence linked to the low-budget movie.
Indonesia, which has a population of 240 million, is the world's largest Muslim-majority country. About 700 members of hardline Muslim groups protested earlier in September outside the US embassy, some hurling petrol bombs. Eleven policemen and a protester were injured in clashes.