Here’s a look at protests and events across the world on Friday connected to an amateurish anti-Muslim film produced in the United States and vulgar caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published in a French satirical weekly. More than 50 people have been killed in violence linked to the protests over the film, which has also renewed debate over freedom of expression in the U.S. and in Europe.
Fifteen people were killed as tens of thousands protested against the film around the country after the government encouraged peaceful protests and declared a national holiday — “Love for the Prophet Day.” Demonstrations turned violent in several Pakistani cities. Among those killed was a driver for a Pakistani television station, who died after police opened fire on rioters torching a cinema in the northwest city of Peshawar during a protest.
Clashes between police and thousands of stone-throwing protesters also occurred in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.
About 900 people have gathered for a protest against the film in the capital, Kabul, chanting “death to America” and burning an effigy of President Barack Obama and an American flag. A few hundred demonstrators also protested inside a mosque in the eastern city of Ghazni. The protests were peaceful.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at the West over the film. Speaking during a military parade in Tehran, he said: “in return for (allowing) the ugliest insults to the divine messenger, they — the West — raise the slogan of respect for freedom of speech.” He said this explanation was “clearly a deception.”
The United States closed its diplomatic missions across Indonesia due to continuing demonstrations over the anti-Islam film. Small and mostly orderly protests were held outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and in the cities of Surabaya and Medan, along with a couple other smaller towns. No violence was reported.
In addition to the embassy in Jakarta and consulate offices in Surabaya, Medan and Bali, the American mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also was shut.
About 3,000 people, mostly followers of Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim groups, protested against the film and caricatures in the southern city of Basra. Demonstrators carried Iraqi flags and posters of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, chanting “death to America” and “no to America.”
They burnt Israeli and American flags. One of the organizers, Qassim al-Moussawi, told AP that people gathered “to express our anger and resentment on the offenses made against our prophet.”
Several hundred people gathered in the city of Freiburg in southwest of Germany to protest the film. Some carried banners saying: “The dignity of the Prophet Muhammad is our dignity.” Police banned inflammatory slogans.
The Interior Ministry postponed a poster campaign aimed at countering radical Islam among young people due to tensions caused by video. Germany is home to an estimated 4 million Muslims.
About 2,000 Muslims burned effigies of President Barack Obama and American flags at a protest after Friday prayers in the capital, Colombo, demanding that the United States ban the film.
Over 2,000 people marched through the streets of the capital, Dhaka, to protest the film. They burned a makeshift coffin draped in an American flag, and an effigy of Obama.
Thousands gathered in the Bekaa valley for the latest in a series of protest rallies organized by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah. Protesters carried the yellow Hezbollah flag.
Police enforced a daylong curfew in parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar, and chased away protesters opposing the anti-Islam film. Authorities in the region also temporarily blocked mobile phone and Internet services to prevent viewing the film clips.
A law professor defied a ban by Philippine university officials and has shown students the film’s 14-minute trailer. Constitutional law professor Harry Roque of the University of the Philippines said the film was “trash and nothing but trash” and will not convince people Islam is evil.