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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 20:54 GMT
Two die in Pakistan cartoon clash
Protesters attacked Western targets in Lahore

Pakistani security guards have shot dead two protesters in Lahore during unrest over Western newspaper cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

The shots were fired by guards at a bank as crowds attacked Western targets, including fast-food outlets.

In Islamabad, police used teargas and batons to drive students out of the area around Western embassies.

The cartoons, first published by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September, have angered Muslims worldwide.

The images that have since been reprinted by several other European publications include one portraying Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

Islamic tradition explicitly prohibits any depiction of Allah and the Prophet.

In other developments:

  • Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the row is the country's biggest foreign policy challenge since World War II

  • Basra city council in southern Iraq calls for the withdrawal of Danish troops from the country unless Copenhagen apologises for the cartoons

  • An Italian government minister - Roberto Calderoli from the anti-immigrant Northern League - says he is distributing T-shirts displaying controversial cartoons.

  • In Iran, crowds throw stones, firecrackers and petrol bombs at the British and German embassies in spite of the heavy presence of riot police.

British media have not published the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad - but analysts say anti-British feeling is high in Iran because of London's role in confronting Tehran over its nuclear ambitions.

Anti-US feeling

The shootings in Lahore took place outside the Metropolitan bank. Reports say crowds tried to set fire to the building housing the bank.

CARTOON ROW
30 Sept 2005: Danish paper publishes cartoons
20 Oct: Muslim ambassadors complain to Danish PM
10 Jan 2006: Norwegian publication reprints cartoons
26 Jan: Saudi Arabia recalls its ambassador
31 Jan: Danish paper apologises
1 Feb: Papers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain reprint cartoons
4-5 Feb: Danish embassies in Damascus and Beirut attacked
6-7 Feb: At least eight killed in Afghanistan as security forces try to suppress protests

Police also fired tear gas as crowds tried to set fire to outlets of McDonald's and KFC and placed burning tyres on some roads.

The Lahore deaths are the first in Pakistan since the controversy erupted.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says the almost daily demonstrations in Pakistan have been relatively small and peaceful so far.

But they are getting bigger and angrier as Islamic opposition parties begin a rolling campaign of protests ahead of a visit by US President George W Bush at the start of next month, she says.

At least 12 people died in Afghanistan last week in demonstrations against the cartoons.


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