Hundreds in Pakistan, Afghanistan protest anti-Islam video
Hundreds of people rallied in Pakistan's major cities and in eastern Afghanistan on Friday to protest an anti-Islam video that has angered Muslims in many nations, dpa reported.
Islamists took to the streets in the Pakistan capital, Islamabad, shouting slogans against the United States and demanding their government review diplomatic relations with Washington.
Minor clashes broke out when riot police prevented the protesters from marching towards the US embassy, which is located in a secluded, well-guarded diplomatic enclave. Authorities have stepped up security around missions and other places frequented by foreigners.
In the port city of Karachi, the Jamaat-e-Islami party's central leader, Munawar Hassan, told a crowd of several hundred supporters that the video producer had committed blasphemy by mocking the prophet Mohammed.
The protesters carried banners with slogans including, "Blasphemy is not freedom of expression."
Isolated protests were also reported from Lahore, Peshawar and elsewhere. Pakistan's government has condemned the video, which gained wide publicity this week on YouTube, and has blocked links on the internet to the video.
Meanwhile, several hundreds staged peaceful demonstrations in eastern Afghanistan. There was no violence or damage to property, a government spokesman said.
"The people gathered after Friday prayers in Ghani Khel district of Nangarhar. They shouted anti-US slogans and asked for the trial of the filmmaker and the pastor who supported him in releasing the video clips," said provincial spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai.
There was tight security around the US embassy in Kabul, and additional police and army forces were deployed to prevent potential riots. But Kabul and other Afghan cities were calm.