Violence flares as Pakistan protests US-made film
ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Violence flared in Pakistan on Friday as the country shut down for mass protests against a United States (US)-made anti-Islam film that has fanned global Muslim anger, inflamed further by French cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Western missions across the Islamic world went on high alert, fearing further escalation of a 10-day violent backlash over the low-budget film Innocence Of Muslims that has spread to at least 20 countries and left more than 30 people dead.
France, where a satirical magazine this week published a series of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, has shut embassies, consulates, cultural centres and schools in around 20 Muslim countries, fearing that the backlash could spread from US targets.
In Pakistan, where the government declared Friday a holiday to allow tens of thousands to protest in defence of Islam and The Prophet, security forces fanned out across major cities, sealing off Western and government targets.