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2 More Die In Cartoon Protest Riots In Pakistan

Over defamation of their idol.

From Kyodo News:

Smoke erupts from burning U.S. fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant, set on fire by angry mob, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006 in Lahore, Pakistan.

Thousands protest in Pakistan over cartoons, 2 dead

Tuesday February 14

(Kyodo) Over 1,000 protesters stormed into Islamabad's diplomatic enclave while thousands rioted in the eastern city of Lahore Tuesday over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

Two people were killed when security guards at a bank in Lahore opened fire on people trying to break into the bank during the rampage, Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi said.

Elahi told private GEO TV that some of the people who had entered the bank and incited trouble during the demonstration have been taken into custody.

Security forces fired into the air as they struggled to contain the unrest in Lahore, where protesters burned down four three-story buildings housing a hotel, two banks, a KFC restaurant and the office of Norwegian cell phone company, Telenor, the Associated Press reported.

A doctor at the state-run Mayo Hospital was quoted as saying three other people were being treated for serious bullet injuries, and eight more had injuries from clashes with police.

The protest was organized by religious group Tahufaz-e-Namoos Rasalat, whose leadership is associated with an alliance of religious parties opposed to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's government.

Elahi said that the Punjab government had allowed the demonstration in the provincial capital because the organizers had indicated that the protesters would remain peaceful.

The unrest began Tuesday in Islamabad when a crowd of between 1,000 and 1,500 people, mostly students, marched into a fenced-off diplomatic enclave through the main gate, the report said.

According to Reuters news service, it was the first time protesters have breached the enclave since security was dramatically increased in 2002.

Water cannons were used to disperse students protesting on the main road outside the diplomatic enclave, where the foreign office and French embassy are located, Reuters said.

Never mind that the proscription against pictures of Mohammad was to keep him from being idolized.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 14th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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