PESHAWAR: Thousands of Pakistanis took to the streets on Monday to condemn an anti-Islam film, burning US flags and chanting slogans, as police warned of more protest rallies across the country.
In the northwestern city of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, up to 3,000 university students, teachers and employees marched after boycotting classes, police said.
“They were shouting slogans against Americans and were demanding a ban on the anti-Islam film. Later they dispersed peacefully,” Gul Nawaz Khan, a senior police officer at the site, told AFP.
Protesters from another anti-US rally blocked a main road in front of Peshawar University, Khan said.
Some 350 activists from Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, a student wing of the hardline Sunni party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), staged a separate demonstration, blocking a main road by setting fire to tyres and burning a US flag, an AFP reporter said.
In the port city of Karachi, where eight people were injured on Sunday when protesters clashed with police outside the US consulate, police expanded a security cordon around the mission as religious parties announced more rallies.
“The routes leading to the US Consulate have been heavily guarded and barricaded to avoid any untoward incident,” senior police official Amir Farooqi told AFP.
An AFP reporter at the scene saw heavy containers positioned across roads leading to the consulate to stop vehicles and individuals reaching it.
The “Innocence of Muslims” film, thought to have been produced by a small group of Christian extremists in the United States, has sparked violent anti-American protests across the Islamic world.
Taliban fighters on Friday stormed a heavily fortified air base in southern Afghanistan; killing two US Marines in an assault the insurgents said was to avenge the video.
A total of 17 people have died in violence linked to the film, including four Americans killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi.