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Pakistani Police Use Tear Gas Against Cartoons Protesters


Pakistani police fired tear gas and rubber bullets Sunday to disperse stone-throwing youths who gathered in Islamabad to protest the publication in Europe of cartoons showing the Prophet Muhammad.

Police and paramilitary soldiers sealed the city and were out in force after authorities banned the rally, which was called by an alliance of six Islamist parties, Majlis-i-Amal. One of the senior members of the alliance Maulana Fasul-ur-Rehman said Pakistan and the Muslim world will continue their protests until an apology is offered for what he called the "sinister act" of printing the cartoons.

Pakistani police also arrested several lawmakers, put some radical Islamic leaders under house arrest, and detained hundreds of their supporters.

In a separate incident in the southern Sindh province, hundreds of angry Muslims attacked a church after allegations that a local Christian man had burned pages from the Koran.

Denmark, where the cartoons were first published in September, temporarily withdrew its ambassador from Islamabad. On Friday, it temporarily closed the embassy because of security concerns.

In Indonesia, hundreds of Muslims protesting the caricatures of Muhammad attacked the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta with stones, tomatoes and eggs, and beat on the embassy gates with sticks.

The anti-cartoons protests turned violent also in Nigeria where 16 people were killed Saturday, and in Libya, where 11 people have died so far.

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