U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has criticized the media for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
At the United Nations Thursday, he said printing the cartoons is offensive and provocative, and he cannot understand why any editor would do it. He also said violence is not an acceptable response.
Protests over the cartoons continued in the Muslim world Thursday, with hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite Muslims turning a religious commemoration in Beirut into a largely peaceful demonstration against the cartoons. Thousands also protested in Cape Town, South Africa. Some recent demonstrations have turned violent, with rioters attacking European diplomatic posts in some countries.
A newspaper in Denmark first printed the cartoons, and they were later published elsewhere in western media. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has accused Syria and Iran of fueling the violence. But Syria's ambassador to Washington blamed "rogue elements" for unrest in Beirut and Damascus.