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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid