Sep 20, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
(AlJazeera) The US embassy in the Pakisani capital has become the latest target of protesters angry at an anti-Islam video that triggered protests in the Arab and Muslim world.
Hundreds of students from various colleges and educational institutions in Islamabad clashed with police on Thursday as they were being blocked from reaching the embassy.Students pelted the police with stones, and the police retaliated by firing tear gas shells.
Several students were injured when policemen hurled the stones back at the crowd.
According to local television channels, several policemen were injured.
“Our policemen are not any better than the Americans because they are trying to stop us. They are in the same league as them, they are heretics like them,” said student Jawad Ahmed.
“They should allow us to demolish the American embassy because they have blasphemed against our holy Prophet. The police are also becoming an accomplice of blasphemers.”
There were also protests in other parts of Pakistan as well.
In Lahore, the cultural capital of the country, students from an Islamic school marched through the streets and chanted anti-American slogans.
In Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, over two hundred protesters set fire to an effigy of Barack Obama, the US president. “We will make known it by burning the effigy of Obama and his allies that a blasphemer deserves to be burnt to death,” said Maulana Mehmood ul Hassan Ashraf, secretary general of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam.
In another demonstration in Muzaffarabad, more than two hundred male and female students from a medical college marched through the streets holding banners and placards.
The film, portraying the Muslim prophet Muhammad engaging in crude and offensive behaviour, has ignited days of demonstrations in the Arab world, Africa and Asia and in some Western countries.
Many Islams regard any depiction of the prophet as blasphemous.
Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said the situation had been brought under “control” by police and the military.
“Police tried to control the crowd by firing in the air and using tear gas. But because of the size of the crowd, the police were forced to ask help from the military,” he said.
Many thousands were trying to march but were prevented by the security forces, said our correspondent.
He said military helicopters have been hovering the area where the protests took place.
State department warning
The protests coincided with a warning to US citizens from the state department to avoid travelling to Pakistan.
Officials upgraded their ongoing caution about the travel risks in Pakistan, explicitly advising Americans to put off any
non-essential travel to the country.
They also “strongly urged”those who are already there to avoid protests and large gatherings.
The state department said the presence of al-Qaeda, Taliban elements and “indigenous militant sectarian groups poses a
potential danger to US citizens throughout Pakistan”.
Protests in the Arab and Muslim world started when the video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s most revered figure, was posted on YouTube.
In Benghazi, Libya, a US consulate was attacked by angry rioters, killing the US ambassador to Libya and three of his colleagues.
Obama said on Wednesday the man behind the anti-Islam movie was a “shadowy character”.
The White House said the matter was still under investigation and that the situation in Libya was not hopeless although it is “bumpy and at times dangerous”.