Ten killed in riots as Libya turns cartoon fury on Italians
THOUSANDS of Muslims were today mounting fresh demonstrations in London over cartoons satirising the Prophet Mohammad hours after a protest in Libya left ten people dead.
The Muslim Action Committee - an umbrella group for mosques, community leaders and groups - was today leading a march from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park.
It comes after Libyans protesting against the cartoons set fire to an Italian consulate and sparked a riot.
The rioters hurled rocks and bottles at the consulate in Benghazi, and then charged into its compound. Police fired live ammunition and tear gas at the more than 1000 demonstrators, but failed to disperse them until about six hours later. Police later said at least ten had died and several more had been injured.
Libya condemned the attack on embassy property and, in an exceptional move, broadcast pictures of the violence. State television showed firefighters extinguishing the blaze in the consulate, cars burning, rioters hurling stones, and wounded men being carried to ambulances.
The protesters were said to be angry at Italian minister Roberto Calderoli, who had worn a T-shirt displaying the drawings. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has called for his resignation.
Mr Calderoli, is a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party and minister without portfolio in charge of institutional reform.
Earlier this week, Mr Calderoli said in an interview that it was "time to put an end to this story that we need to dialogue with these people".
Mr Berlusconi said he had contacted Umberto Bossi, leader of the Northern League, and both had agreed that Mr Calderoli should step down.
It came as London prepared for its third consecutive week of protests. Last weekend some 5000 people took part in a peaceful pro-Islam gathering.
Protests against the cartoons, first printed in Denmark, have taken place in Muslim countries across the world. Among the images which have sparked outcry is one of Mohammad with a bomb-shaped turban on his head.
Outbreaks of violence across Pakistan have prompted Denmark to temporarily close its embassy in Islamabad.
Police fired on a crowd protesting against the cartoons today in eastern Pakistan, injuring at least four people.
The incident happened in Chaniot, a small city about 180 miles northeast of Multan, where hundreds of protesters gathered, residents said.
Yesterday, a Pakistani cleric offered 575,000 to anyone who killed the cartoonist who drew Prophet Mohammad. Prayer leader Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi announced the bounty to about 1000 people outside a mosque.
The Danish newspaper that first printed the caricatures in September refused to comment on the reward.
But Mogens Blicher Bjerregaard, president of the Danish Journalists' Union and spokesman for the cartoonists, condemned the bounty.
Denmark announced it had temporarily closed its embassy in Pakistan. Pakistan, meanwhile, recalled its ambassador to Denmark for "consultations".
On Friday, police confined Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, leader of a radical Islamic group Jamaat al-Dawat, to his home in Lahore to stop him from addressing supporters in the city of Faisalabad, about 75 miles away, his spokesman Yahya Mujahid said.
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