Democracy Now: 1 Dead in Pakistan as Anti-Film, French Cartoon Protests Continue to Sweep Through the Middle East
At least one person has been killed in Pakistan as protesters fill the streets across several cities in what is expected to be a massive day of action against the U.S.-made film, “Innocence of Muslims.” The Pakistani government declared Friday a public holiday to allow people to demonstrate against the film, which mocks the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. Pakistan shut down cell phone service in major cities as officials moved to block roads to U.S. diplomatic missions. In the Pakistani city of Peshawar, a driver named Muhammad Amir was shot dead by police as he drove through an area where protesters were torching a movie theater. Dozens of deaths, including that of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have already been linked to protests and violence that swept through Muslim countries around the world as a result of the film. A French cartoon depicting Muhammad in pornographic poses has only added new fodder to the global outcry. On Thursday, thousands of Pakistanis demonstrated in the capital of Islamabad as police and security forces attempted to block access to the U.S. embassy. At least 50 people were reportedly injured as police fired live rounds and tear gas. Protests were reported in multiple other countries Thursday, including Indonesia, Iran and Afghanistan, where hundreds of people held a peaceful march in Kabul and chanted anti-American slogans.