Cartoon Protests Turn Deadly - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/6/2006

Cartoon Protests Turn Deadly

Tens of thousands of Muslims around the world have staged new rounds of protests -- some resulting in deaths -- over published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

Afghan police fired Monday on about 2,000 protesters who tried to enter Bagram Airbase, a U.S. base north of Kabul, The Associated Press reported.

Two protesters were killed and 13 others injured, Kabir Ahmed, the local government chief, was quoted as saying. Eight of those injured were police, he said.

In the Afghan city of Mihtarlam, two protesters were killed and three others injured -- including two police -- when police fired on a crowd after a man fired shots and others threw stones and knives, Interior Ministry spokesman Dad Mohammed Rasa told AP.

In Indonesia, video from a demonstration outside a U.S. consulate showed a protester with a bloody shirt sitting on the ground next to police.

Islam forbids depictions of Mohammed. Many Muslims are furious at the drawings themselves, one of which shows the religious figure wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse.

And in the east African nation of Somalia, police fired in the air Monday to disperse stone-throwing protesters, triggering a stampede in which a teenager died, according to The Associated Press. 

The protests came as Iran announced it had cut off all trade ties with Denmark.

A report on the state-run news agency IRNA said Iranian Commerce Minister Massoud Mirkazemi stopped trade with Denmark as the government's response to the cartoons.

It said that while trade has been stopped, certain machinery and medicine will be allowed in for another three months.

In Tehran, demonstrators protested outside the Danish Consulate and the Austrian Embassy. Austria is currently serving as president of the European Union. Reuters reported that about 200 people threw fire bombs and rocks.

Meanwhile in Paris, France Soir -- a newspaper that published the cartoons of Mohammed -- was evacuated for nearly three hours Monday after receiving a bomb threat.

Police and bomb squads searched the premises and found no cause for concern.

The paper's secretarial office said someone called at 12:50 p.m. (6:50 a.m. ET) saying there was a bomb in the building. All 120 people were evacuated immediately.

Also Monday, Lebanon apologized to Denmark for a protest Sunday in which the building housing the Danish Consulate was torched. The protest was planned in advance and well publicized, but Lebanese security still took hours to bring it under control.

Officials on the scene Monday found that the consulate had reinforced its doors, so the rioters had not managed to destroy the consulate itself, which was on the fourth floor of the 10-story building.

Other protests Monday took place in Amman, Tel Aviv, Gaza, and Kut, a city in southern Iraq where about 5,000 people congregated, burned flags and burned an effigy of the Danish prime minister.

In Indian-controlled Kashmir, schools and businesses closed in protest over the drawings. Some demonstrators set flags on fire and threw rocks at passing cars. And in the Indian capital of New Delhi, police fired tear gas and water canons to try to break up one protest.

The controversy began in September, when 12 drawings of the Muslim prophet were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The paper said it had asked cartoonists to draw the pictures because the media was censoring itself over Muslim issues.

In January, a Norwegian newspaper reprinted the drawings.

Some other European papers later published some of the cartoons, as a way of covering the controversy and also, some papers said, as a matter of freedom of expression.

CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam.

Two small weekly Jordanian newspapers recently reprinted the cartoons and, according to Jordan's Petra News Agency, arrest warrants were issued for the editors-in-chief of those papers.

World leaders and some Muslim religious officials have called on members of the faith to use only peaceful forms of protest.

Over the weekend, protesters torched embassies of Denmark and Norway in Damascus and the Danish Consulate in Beirut. No staff were hurt, but buildings were damaged or destroyed.

The protests in Beirut soon escalated into fighting between Muslims and Christians. (Watch as protesters battle security forces in Lebanon -- 2:08)

Iraq's transport ministry also said it was severing ties with the Danish and Norwegian governments, a move that includes terminating all contracts with companies based in those countries.

Meanwhile, London police were under pressure to arrest Muslim protesters who carried signs threatening death and terrorist attacks at a demonstration over the cartoons on Friday.

The Danish government has tried to get out the message that it does not control what is in newspapers and that Danish courts will determine whether the newspaper that originally published the cartoons, Jyllands-Posten, is guilty of blasphemy. The government has also expressed apologies for the offending drawings.

Jyllands-Posten has apologized, saying it did not mean to offend Muslims and that the drawings had to be understood in their original contexts.

The paper's cultural editor, Flemming Rose, said the uproar came after "radical imams from Denmark traveled to the Middle East, deliberately lying about these cartoons," and saying that the paper is owned by the government and is preparing a new translation of the Koran "censoring the word of 'Allah,' which is a grave sin according to Islam."

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