Pakistan's 'Day of Love' erupts in violence

Demonstrators clashed with police in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Friday, as anger over insults to the Prophet Mohammad boiled over despite calls from political and religious leaders across the Muslim world for peaceful protest.

Pakistani demonstrators attack
Wave of violence: Pakistani demonstrators attack a cinema during a protest against an anti-Islam film in Karachi yesterday. Pic/AFP

Western diplomatic missions throughout the Muslim world tightened security, with some closing down on expectation of big protests after Friday prayers.

An anti-Islam film made in America has enraged Muslims and led to days of protests across the Muslim world while cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad published in a French magazine on Wednesday were expected to compound the anger.

“An attack upon the Holy Prophet is an attack on the whole 1.5 billion Muslims. Therefore, this is something unacceptable,” Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said in a speech to politicians, religious leaders and others.

Pakistan had declared Friday a ‘Day of Love for the Prophet Mohammad’.

Protesters took to the streets of Peshawar and torched two cinemas and clashed with riot police who tried to disperse them with teargas.
At least five protesters were killed, a doctor at the city’s main hospital said. 

Near Islamabad, protesters set fire to a motorway toll booth. The previous day, about 1,000 stone-throwing protesters clashed with police.

The government shut down mobile phone services in more than a dozen cities as part of security arrangements ahead of protests expected on Friday. 

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