Two killed, three wounded in riots over prophet cartoons in Afganistan

The summer capital of Indian Kashmir, comes to a standstill, mayhem spreads across Muslim world.

Kasmir protest 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Kasmir protest 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Muslim demonstrators clashed with security forces who fired live rounds and tear gas to break up violent protests in several Asian countries on Monday against the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Two demonstrators were shot to death and three other people, including two police officials, were injured in the central Afghan city of Mihtarlam, when police reportedly fired on hundreds of demonstrators. Police opened fire after a man in the crowd shot at them while others threw stones and knives. The protesters burned tires and threw stones at the offices of the police and the provincial governor. In Kabul, police using batons and rifle butts broke up a protest by about 200 youths in front of the presidential palace in the Afghan capital. "Long live Islam! We are Muslims! We don't let anyone insult our prophet!" chanted the demonstrators. They also chanted, "Down with America!" and displayed slogans against the Afghan and US presidents. Earlier, the protesters tried and failed to break down the gate of the Danish government's diplomatic mission. Police reported that protesters beat some of the police on guard there and security guards at a nearby house used by Belgian diplomats received similar treatment. The protesters also threw stones, smashing windows of a guardhouse at the main US military base in Kabul. Police standing amid the protesters watched but did not intervene. The demonstrators also stoned three vehicles belonging to NATO-led peacekeepers in the city. Some 3,000 people demonstrated peacefully in three other Afghan cities. The spreading unrest came a day after some 4,000 Afghans took to the streets across the country. In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, police fired warning shots to stop protesters from ripping a plaque from the wall of the US consulate in Surabaya, the country's second largest city, witnesses said. Hundreds of demonstrators threw rocks at the Danish consulate in the city before moving on to the US consulate. In New Delhi, riot police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of student protesters who burned Danish flags and chanted slogans. No injuries were reported. The main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir came to a standstill as shops, businesses and schools shut down in a one-day general strike in protest of the caricatures. Dozens of protesters torched Danish flags, burned tires and shouted slogans in several parts of Srinagar, police officer Ali Mohammad said. Protesters also hurled rocks at passing cars, but no one was reported hurt. In the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, about 300 people protested outside the office building housing the Danish Embassy, which was guarded by a cordon of security forces. "The cartoons were meant to insult us," said Hendri Novrizal, one of the demonstrators. "We wouldn't insult Jesus or the Buddha because such an act would cause tension among believers." In Bangkok, about 400 members of Thailand's Muslim minority shouted, "God is Great", outside Denmark's embassy, and some demonstrators stomped on a Danish flag. In Malaysia, it was reported that an editor of a newspaper that ran one of the drawings resigned. The Sunday Tribune, in the country's remote Sarawak state, also apologized for printing the picture.