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Pakistani police fire tear gas shells toward the Shia Muslim protesters during a rally against an anti-Islam movie in Karachi on September 16, 2012. — Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Thousands of people rallied across Pakistan on Sunday to denounce an anti-Islam film with protestors burning US flags and effigies of President Barack Obama, and calling to sever ties with Washington.

At least eight people were injured when protestors clashed with police outside the US consulate in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, officials said.

Police fired bullets in the air and used tear gas and water cannon to disperse some 1,000 people at the rally organised by a Shia religious organisation, according to an AFP photographer.

At one stage protestors broke through security cordons and got close to the heavily guarded US consulate, pelting the building with stones.

They chanted “Down with America”, “We will sacrifice our lives to safeguard the honour of the Prophet” and “Hang the film maker.” City police Chief Iqbal Mehmood told AFP at least 20 people were arrested.

Richard Silver, a spokesman for the US consulate, said there had been no damage or injury to any personnel at the mission.

Also in Karachi some 1,500 people joined a rally organised by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI).

Elsewhere in Pakistan, more than 6,000 people gathered in the eastern city of Lahore to condemn the movie, according to local police estimates.

Organised by the banned charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is seen as a front for the Lashkar-i-Taiba terror group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the protest remained peaceful.

Addressing the rally, Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed demanded US diplomats be expelled from Pakistan and accused the US of conspiring against Muslims.

He also announced plans to hold a long march towards Islamabad on the issue but did not give any date.

In the southwestern city of Quetta, the JUI and pro-government Balochistan Muttahida Mahaz (BMM) party held separate demonstrations, in total attended by over 1,000 people.

In the central city of Multan, more than 600 local traders held a rally and burnt effigies of the film-maker and controversial US pastor Terry Jones, who has promoted the film.

Some 500 protestors also rallied in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where the local chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Maulana Abdul Aziz Alvi, described the movie as “shameful”.

The low-budget movie, entitled “Innocence of Muslims”, has sparked fury across the Islamic world for mocking the Prophet Mohammed, and for portraying Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.

Police have beefed up security around US missions in Pakistan after violent attacks on American consulates and embassies in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.


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Comments (8) Closed




maggi
Sep 18, 2012 06:23am
stop rallys in pakistan
Starr
Sep 17, 2012 03:51am
What Ameica has to do with the moive?????????
sajid
Sep 17, 2012 03:52am
I think the matter is not as simple as it looks appearently. By releasing this blasphemous film they have tried to divert Muslims attention from other core issues in which they have succeeded , that
SS
Sep 17, 2012 04:11am
Look at the Muslims mental status here...the picture describes it so well. We are an uneducated lot who likes to destroy our own property and lives and then sleep well thinking that they have done a great job in the service of Islam. What a Shame!
AK
Sep 18, 2012 01:20pm
Well, we have always put our country in danger or at loss (specially Islam) by doing such not peaceful protests in all big and and small cities. Now, its our job to pin point the such parties who are involve in such act. e.g. JUI and try to stop them. We have to root them-out (JUI and such parties) and have our peace and focus on leaning our DEANN from now.....
Gerry D'Cunha
Sep 17, 2012 10:06am
I ask my muslim brothers to please think - your violence is bringing more publicity to the film maker which he deliberatly needs - so please stop violence in your country.
Bilal Ansari
Sep 17, 2012 09:55am
can u please tell me whatz the name of the movie which is against islam.
kayamat
Sep 17, 2012 07:54am
Please keep the protests peaceful. Otherwise I feel it can harm the country.