News / Asia

Pakistan Urges Calm in Protests Against Video

 A Pakistani Muslim protester throws a tear gas shell back towards police as demonstrators attempt to reach the U.S. embassy during a protest against an anti-Islam film in Islamabad, September 20, 2012.
A Pakistani Muslim protester throws a tear gas shell back towards police as demonstrators attempt to reach the U.S. embassy during a protest against an anti-Islam film in Islamabad, September 20, 2012.
Ayaz Gul
Dozens of people have been injured in Pakistan during violent demonstrations protesting an Internet video that insults the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.  Authorities are urging agitators not to resort to violence and the government has declared Friday as an official holiday to “peacefully express love for Prophet Muhammad” to register its protest.

For the past several days, Pakistanis have demonstrated throughout the country against the anti-Islamic amateurish video produced in the United States without posing a major security challenge to authorities.   But Thursday, the demonstrations turned violent in almost all major cities, including the national capital, Islamabad.

Television footage showed protesters torching public and private property, and clashing with police in some cities.  An unspecified number of people were reported injured in the clashes.

In Islamabad, hundreds of chanting demonstrators, mostly activists of religious parties, tried to make their way to the U.S. embassy inside a heavily guarded diplomatic enclave.

Police used batons and tear gas to keep the stone-throwing crowed from the area, which also houses diplomatic missions of other countries.  Muslims have also been angered by caricatures of Muhammad published this week in a French satirical magazine.

In view of the rapidly growing crowds in Islamabad, and possible joining of thousands of others from the neighboring city of Rawalpindi, authorities lined up scores off shipping containers on major roads to cordon off key areas in the capital.

The demonstrators dispersed in the evening and Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira confirmed to the state-run television troops have been called in to secure foreign missions.

The minister said the “security of the diplomatic community is the responsibility of the Pakistani state and all available means will be used to defend them."

The violent protests prompted the United States to warn its citizens not to undertake non-essential travel to Pakistan.  

Scenes of a protest rally against the anti-Islam movie, in Quetta, Pakistan, September 20, 2012. (Hameedullah Samsor/VOA)Scenes of a protest rally against the anti-Islam movie, in Quetta, Pakistan, September 20, 2012. (Hameedullah Samsor/VOA)
x
Scenes of a protest rally against the anti-Islam movie, in Quetta, Pakistan, September 20, 2012. (Hameedullah Samsor/VOA)
Scenes of a protest rally against the anti-Islam movie, in Quetta, Pakistan, September 20, 2012. (Hameedullah Samsor/VOA)
The demonstrations in the country are expected to grow on Friday.  The Pakistani government has also declared a national holiday for Friday to allow people to peacefully register their protest against the anti-Islam video.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf urged Pakistanis to avoid violence.
 
“I call upon the people of Pakistan to register their protest peacefully, but to observe restraint and not to damage their own property," said Ashraf.

Pakistani authorities also have blocked Internet users from accessing websites that offer the video.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid