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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 March 2008, 14:31 GMT
Afghans protest against cartoons
Afghan protesters burn the flags of Denmark and German during a demonstration in Herat
Protesters are incensed at the reprinting of the cartoons
Thousands of people in Afghanistan have been protesting against the reprinting of cartoons in Danish newspapers they say are insults to Islam.

At the scene of the biggest protest, in the western city of Herat, police say more then 10,000 people took to the streets to denounce Denmark.

They also condemned the planned release of a Dutch film critical of the Koran.

They burned Dutch and Danish flags, and called for their troops to be removed from the Nato force in Afghanistan.

Saturday's protests have been the largest in the last two weeks in Afghanistan.

Thousands of demonstrators walked to Herat's main sports stadium, shouting angry slogans against Denmark and the Netherlands for alleged insults against Islam.

One of the protesters, Mir Farooq Hussaini, blamed the US and its allies for what he saw as blasphemy against Islam.

"We are here today to show our anger for what happened in Denmark, and to all infidels in the leadership of criminal America for what is going on in the world," he said.

"If next time our beliefs are insulted, we will give a lesson to America and its allies the way we gave a lesson to Russia when they had occupied our country."

Biggest protest

These protests are believed to be the biggest since 2006, when cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were published in a Danish newspaper, causing outrage and sparking riots across the Muslim world.

Last month, Denmark's leading newspapers reprinted one of the cartoons, after Danish police said they had uncovered a plot to kill the artist, whose drawing was one of 12 cartoons that had angered many Muslims.

The reprinting triggered another wave of protests in Islamic countries.

Saturday's protesters in Herat were also angered by the forthcoming release of a short film by a right-wing member of the Dutch parliament, Geert Wilders, as the film reportedly portrays the Koran in a negative light.

Afghanistan is an Islamic republic where criticism of the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran can carry the death sentence.

Last week, more than 200 Afghan MPs protested in parliament, and urged the Danish and Dutch governments to prevent what they said was blasphemy against Islam.





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