February 13, 2006

Pakistan detains hundreds in violent cartoon protest

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani police fired tear
gas and charged with batons on Monday to detain hundreds of
students who staged a violent protest against cartoons of the
Prophet Mohammad.

Up to 6,000 students, shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is
Greatest) and "Death to America," pelted offices and shops with
stones during the protest in the northwestern city Peshawar.

"We had no other option but to resort to tear gas and
baton-charge them," Mohammad Tahir Khan, a superintendent of
police, told Reuters. "We have taken hundreds of them into

He said some students sustained minor injuries.

Protests against the satirical cartoons, first published in
the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten last September, have been
held almost daily in Pakistan since they were reprinted in
European newspapers in January and this month.

Many Muslims believe it is blasphemous to depict the
Prophet, and the cartoons -- one of which showed the Prophet
wearing a bomb-shaped turban -- have sparked protests across
the Muslim world.

So far the demonstrations in Pakistan, the second
most-populous Muslim nation, have not been large by local
standards, but Islamists have called for a nationwide strike on
March 3.