By staff & agencies

Anti-France protests spread globally

October 30, 2020 - 20:41

Anger is growing in Muslim nations against French President Emmanuel Macron - with new protests in Bangladesh, Iran and Pakistan. This comes after Macron promised to crack down on what he calls "radical Islam" and defended the right to mock religion.

Thousands of Muslims, from Pakistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian territories, poured out of prayer services to join anti-France protests on Friday, as the French president’s vow to protect the right to caricature the Prophet Muhammad continues to roil the Muslim world.
By Friday afternoon, Mumbai Police removed the posters from Mohammad Ali road. Videos of people walking, cars driving on the posters have been doing the rounds on social media. Reports said the Raza Academy, a Muslim organization, was behind the protest.
Issuing an official statement condemning the killing of a French teacher and personal attacks on Macron, the ministry of external affairs said, “We strongly deplore the personal attacks in unacceptable language on President Emmanuel Macron in violation of the most basic standards of international discourse.”
“We also condemn the brutal terrorist attack that took the life of a French teacher in a gruesome manner that has shocked the world. There is no justification for terrorism for any reason or under any circumstance,” it said.
 Hundreds of demonstrators marched from Beirut’s Corniche al-Mazraa toward the French Embassy Friday, protesting cartoons many consider insulting to the Prophet Mohammad.
Protests kicked off just after Friday prayers. Demonstrators threw rocks at security forces, which had blocked the road at Barbir bridge, preventing them from reaching the embassy. Security forces responded by firing tear gas into the crowds.
Buses full of protesters from Tripoli also arrived in Beirut shortly after demonstrations began. Crowds chanted slogans and carried Islamic flags, condemning France and President Emmanuel Macron and rejecting insults toward the prophet and Islam. Many demonstrators carried Hizb ut-Tahrir flags.
Friday’s protests come after a knife-wielding man killed three people at a church in Nice Thursday, slitting the throat of at least one of them. The attack comes on the heels of another beheading of a middle school teacher earlier in October, by a man of Chechen origin. The attacker had said he wanted to punish the teacher for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
Demonstrations in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad turned violent as some 2,000 people who tried to march toward the French Embassy were pushed back by police firing tear gas and beating protesters with batons. Crowds of Islamist activists hanged an effigy of French President Emmanuel Macron from a highway overpass after pounding it furiously with their shoes. Several demonstrators were wounded in clashes with police and authorities deployed more security forces to protect the embassy.
In Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, thousands of worshippers celebrating the Mawlid, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, took to the streets, chanting anti-France slogans, raising banners and clogging major roads en route to a Sufi shrine. In Multan, a city in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, thousands more burned an effigy of Macron and demanded that Pakistan sever ties with France and boycott French goods.

A huge crowd of some 50,000 noisily chanting protesters also rallied in Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka, burning effigies of Macron and holding signs that read, “Say no to Islamophobia,” “Stop racism,” and “Boycott French products.” Authorities deployed hundreds of riot police and used barbed wire to cordon off the country’s main mosque.
In Afghanistan, members of the Islamist party Hezb-i-Islami set the French flag ablaze. Its leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, warned Macron that if he doesn’t “control the situation, we are going to a third world war and Europe will be responsible.”


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