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Monday, 17-Sep-2012 07:46 Email | Share | | Bookmark
New wave of Mideast protests turn violent

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Hundreds of Afghans burned cars and threw rocks at a U.S. military base as a demonstration against an anti-Islam film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad turned violent in the Afghan capital early Monday.

And in Jakarta, Indonesians angered over the film clashed with police outside the U.S. Embassy, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails and burning tires outside the mission. At least one police officer was seen bleeding from the head and being carried to safety by fellow officers.

The low-budget film, privately produced in the United States, portrays Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester. It sparked violent protests in many Muslim countries in recent days, many of them outside U.S. diplomatic posts around the world.

The U.S. Ambassador to Libya was killed during an attack on the consulate in Benghazi last week; protesters have also stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tunis and held violent demonstrations outside posts in Egypt and Sudan. The U.S. has responded by deploying additional military forces to increase security in certain hotspots.

In Kabul on Monday, the air was thick with smoke on Jalalabad road -- a main thoroughfare into the city center where the crowd burned shipping containers and tires. At least one police vehicle was burned by the mob before they finally dispersed around midday, according Daoud Amin, the deputy police chief for Kabul province.

Earlier in the morning, men lobbed rocks from the pavement and lobbed them at Camp Phoenix, a U.S. military base that lies along the road. More than 20 police officers were slightly injured -- all from being hit by rocks, said Gen. Fahim Qaim, the commander of a city quick-reaction police force.

"Death to America!" and "Death to those people who have made a film and insulted our prophet," shouted the crowd. Police officers shot into the air to hold back about 800 people and prevent them from pushing toward government buildings downtown, said Azizullah, a police officer at the site who, like many Afghans, only goes by one name.

As the Jalalabad rally was broken up, demonstrations picked up elsewhere in the city. In the southeastern part of Kabul, about 50 protesters gathered in front of a mosque, shouting "Death to America," said police officer Ahmad Shafiq but there were no signs of violence.

Protester Mohammad Humayun, 28, called on President Obama to bring those who have insulted the prophet to justice.

"People around the world are angry," he added. "It is the responsibility of all Muslims to show reaction whenever they hear any disregard and disrespect."

Wahidullah Hotak, another protester, said the rallies will continue "until the people who made the film go to trial."


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