Violent protests in Pakistan leave 17 dead

by | Sep 21, 2012 | News

Protesters in the streets of Karachi.                                                                                   COURTESY CBC

Compiled by Jessy Bains

Anger over a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammed continued Friday, as violence erupted on what was supposed to be a day of peaceful protests in Pakistan.

According to CBC News, Pakistani officials said at least 17 people have been killed and more than 160 wounded in clashes between police and protesters burning flags and effigies of President Barack Obama.

The Pakistani government declared Friday a national holiday, called “Love for the Prophet Day,” encouraging peaceful protests.

The deadliest violence occurred in Karachi, where hospital officials said 12 people were killed and 82 wounded, CBC reported.

According to Al Jazeera, crowds armed with clubs and bamboo poles burned six movie theatres, two banks and five police vehicles.

“Despite the fact that the American president has said that they have got nothing to do with it, the people here are very angry,” said Al Jazeera reporter Kamal Hyder.

A statement  on the website of the Canadian embassy in Islamabad indicated it was closed on Friday due to the demonstrations.

According to The Globe and Mail, police official Bashir Khan said three others have been killed in Peshawar as protesters set a movie theatre on fire.

The Globe added that the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad is spending $70,000 to air a television ad featuring Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Obama denouncing the video.

According to Al Jazeera, Obama is seen in the video saying “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is seeking laws against insulting the Prophet Muhammed, reports the Globe and Mail

“If denying the Holocaust is a crime, then is it not fair and legitimate for a Muslim to demand that denigrating and demeaning Islam’s holiest personality is no less than a crime?” Ashraf told the Associated Press.

At least 47 have been killed over the outrage against the film, including Christoper Stevens, U.S. ambassador to Libya.  CBC