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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 11:18 GMT
Fresh Pakistan cartoon protests
Protestors against cartoons in Karachi burn a Danish flag
The protestors joined a rally called by religious parties
Several thousand people have protested in Pakistan's Karachi city over the publication in the West of cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

In the fourth successive day of demonstrations, tens of thousands of protestors joined a rally called by religious parties.

At least five people have died after protests against cartoons across Pakistan turned violent this week.

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

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

Spreading protests

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

Senior police official Mushtaq Shah told the Associated Press that some 10,000 protestors joined the rally in Karachi.

God's curse be on those who insulted the prophet
Demonstrators in Karachi

They shouted slogans - 'God's curse be on those who insulted the Prophet' - and burnt effigies of the prime minister of Denmark, reports said.

A leader of the rally said Pakistan should severe ties with European countries where the cartoons were published.

"The government should recall its ambassadors and send back ambassadors of these countries," Muneeb-ur-Rahman was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Security was tight in the restive southern city with armed troops keeping a watch on the streets and from roof tops.

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
6-12 Feb: Twelve killed in Afghanistan as security forces try to suppress protests
13-15 Feb: Violent protests break out across Pakistan

The protestors disperse peacefully after the demonstrations, reports said.

The government ordered the closure of schools and colleges in Karachi fearing trouble, reports said.

Most public transport was off the roads, and business establishments were shut.

On Wednesday, three people died in protests across Pakistan.

Thousands of supporters of hardline Islamic groups marched up to the main business district in the north-western city of Peshawar and attacked shops and businesses, setting a KFC outlet on fire.

The office of a Norwegian mobile phone company was also attacked.

Violence also broke out in the town of Tank in North-West Frontier, near the Iranian border. In Punjab province, hundreds of Islamic students took to the streets of the eastern city of Lahore despite a ban on public protests.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf condemned the cartoons nearly two weeks ago.




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See the violent protests in Pakistan



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