[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Violence over Bangladesh cartoon
Protest in Dhaka on Friday
Police launched repeated baton charges
Street clashes have broken out in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, as Islamic activists protested over the publication of an "offensive" cartoon.

Witnesses say that hundreds joined the protest, even though such demonstrations are officially banned under the country's state of emergency.

Police baton-charged some of the protesters as they tried to break through barricades.

The leading Bangla-language newspaper published the offending cartoons.

Prothom Alo has since apologised for them and said that it has sacked an editor.

Islam is Bangladesh's state religion and past governments have banned publications for insulting Muslims.

Anti-cartoon protesters in Dhaka
The cartoon has cased much offence in a conservative country

The country's religious traditions are moderate but some people believe conservatives are becoming more influential.

Witnesses say the violence began after Friday prayers, when protesters tried to break through barricades put up to prevent them reaching the Prothom Alo offices.

The demonstrators demanded the execution of the paper's editor, Matiur Rahman, and burned effigies of him and his Bengali-language daily.

The cartoon featured a conversation between a mullah and a child and ended with a joke about the Prophet Mohammed's name.

It appeared in Prothom Alo's weekly satirical magazine, Alpin.

The cartoonist, Arifur Rahman, has been jailed for a month after the government said his drawings had insulted Muslims.

Bangladesh's home minister said that Arifur Rahman had hurt the sentiments of the people.

The protests came as Bangladesh's military-backed emergency government is reported to have seized copies of another magazine that has allegedly insulted Islam.

"The government has banned the Eid issue of the Bengali language weekly magazine Shaptahik 2000 for publishing an autobiographical article where the writer desecrated the holy shrine Mecca," Shahenur Mia, senior information officer at the home affairs ministry, told the AFP news agency.

Bangladesh is one of the world's largest Muslim countries. It has been under emergency rule since 11 January, when elections were cancelled after vote-rigging allegations led to an army-backed seizure of power.

Cartoonist jailed in Bangladesh
19 Sep 07 |  South Asia

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific