Protests against anti-Islam film in Afghanistan, Indonesia turn violent
Hundreds take part in third such protest in Afghanistan; Indonesians protest outside U.S. Embassy in Jakarta; one dead in Pakistan protest.
A demonstration in Kabul against the U.S.-made film that mocked Islam turned violent when anti-riot police prevented the protesters from damaging public and private property, police said.
It was the third protest in Afghanistan against the internet film that sparked demonstrations among Muslims in several countries.
"Between 300 to 400 people, most of them teenage boys shouted anti-U.S. slogans in the eastern part of the city on the Kabul-Jalalabad highway this morning," police chief Ayoub Salangi said.
The demonstration began peacefully but protesters then set some shops ablaze and threw stones at police, he said.
He said about 50 policemen were slightly injured by stones and a police vehicle was burned by the protesters. There were also some gunshots from the protesters towards police, but had no casualties or injuries were reported, Salangi said.
In Pakistan, at least one demonstrator died in the north-western region in a protest over the film, police said.
Hundreds of protesters set fire to several government buildings and a press club in the Upper Dir district bordering Afghanistan, sparking a clash with security forces.
Meanwhile, Indonesians enraged over the same film clashed with police outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta on Monday, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails and setting tires ablaze.
At least one police officer was seen bleeding from the head while being carried to safety by fellow officers. Protesters in the world's largest Muslim-majority country burned a picture of President Barack Obama and also tried to ignite a fire truck parked outside the embassy.
Molotov cocktails exploded against a fence surrounding it. Police used a bullhorn to call for calm, and deployed water cannons and tear gas to try to break up the crowd as the protesters shouted "Allah Akbar," or God is great.
"We will destroy America like this flag!" a protester screamed while burning a U.S. flag. "We will chase away the American ambassador from the country!"
The demonstration started off peacefully as the group of several hundred protesters from the Islamic People's Forum and the Front of Islamic Defenders, many dressed in white, marched toward the mission. The protesters later paused to perform afternoon prayers about 200 meters from the embassy.
The U.S. Embassy earlier Monday issued an emergency message to American citizens, saying about 1,000 people were expected to gather in front of the mission and that about 1,500 police were on hand. However, Maj. Taufik, a police officer at the scene who like many Indonesians uses only one name, estimated there were more than 400 protesters gathered.
Munarman, a spokesman for the Front of Islamic Defenders, told reporters at the scene that the American government must be responsible for the filmmaker who insulted Islam regardless of laws protecting freedom of speech.
"We will continue to protest until the U.S. government takes proper legal action against them," Munarman said.
Demonstrations were also held Monday in the Indonesian cities of Medan and Bandung. Over the weekend in the central Java town of Solo, protesters stormed KFC and McDonald's restaurants, forcing customers to leave and management to close the stores. Earlier protests, including one held outside the embassy on Friday, had all remained peaceful.
On Sunday, the head of Lebanon's Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah on Sunday called for nationwide protests over the film, saying that the United States must be held accountable for creating strife between Muslims and Christians.
"We call for protests tomorrow in the southern suburbs (of Beirut) at 5 o'clock," Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech."Muslims and Christians must remain vigilant in order to refrain from sliding towards strife. Those responsible for the film, starting with the U.S., must be held accountable."
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