Sun, Jan 18, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Protests against ‘Charlie Hebdo’ cartoons turn violent

MUSLIM REACTION:Majority Muslim nations in Africa and the Middle East, as well as parts of northern Russia, saw thousands protest against the magazine’s images

AFP, NIAMEY and MOSCOW

A man runs with a French-language poster that reads: “Senegal is not Charlie,” as thousands protest in Dakar, Senegal, against French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s latest publication of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed on Friday.

Photo: EPA

Police yesterday fired tear gas at hundreds of rock-throwing demonstrators in Niger’s capital, Niamey, as thousands of Muslims vented fury around the world for the second day over a new cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Demonstrations occurred from Pakistan and Nigeria to northern Russia.

Four people were killed and 45 injured in protests that turned violent in Niger’s second city of Zinder, with demonstrators ransacking three churches and torching the French cultural center. Two churches in the capital were also torched, witnesses said.

There was also bloodshed in Karachi, Pakistan, where three people were injured when protesters clashed with police officers outside the French consulate, officials said. Among them was Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Asif Hassan, who was hospitalized after being shot in the back.

Washington condemned the violence, referring to what it called a universal right of the press to freely publish any kind of information.

As protesters in Dakar and Mauritania torched French flags, Qatar and Bahrain said that the new Mohammed cartoon published on Wednesday by the weekly could fuel hatred.

Distributor MLP said the weekly had sold 1.9 million copies so far, with a total of 5 million to be printed, compared with its usual sales of about 60,000.

It was the first edition since brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi allegedly shot and killed 12 people in an attack on the magazine’s Paris offices on Jan. 7, reportedly seeking vengeance over such cartoons.

In Jordan’s Amman, about 2,500 protesters set off from Al-Husseini mosque under tight security, holding banners that read “insulting the prophet is global terrorism.”

There were clashes between protesters and riot police in Algiers, where up to 3,000 marchers chanted: “We are all Mohammed,” though some shouted their support for the Muslim Kouachi brothers.

About 15,000 people rallied in Russia’s primarily Muslim region of Ingushetia against publications that insult Mohammed, officials said.

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