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 Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid