Effigies of the French president burnt, calls for boycott and violence. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated again this Friday in several Muslim and Arab countries, to protest against France and its president’s position on the cartoons of the prophet of Islam Mohammed.
A wave of protests erupted after Emmanuel Macron’s statements defending the freedom to caricature the Prophet following the beheading near Paris by a Muslim of a teacher who had shown his class such caricatures. Islam, in its strict interpretation, prohibits any representation of the Prophet Muhammad.
This Friday, the main protests took place in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Other smaller ones took place in India, the Middle East and the Maghreb. In Dhaka, where security has been tightened around the French embassy, more than 40,000 protesters marched according to independent observers and organizers.
2000 people in Islamabad
“We are all soldiers of the Prophet Muhammad,” they chanted at the end of the weekly prayer at the Baitul Mukarram mosque, the largest in the country. The demonstrators renewed their calls to boycott French products and to “punish” Emmanuel Macron. French flags and an effigy of the French president were burned.
“France insults two billion Muslims in the world. President Macron must apologize for his crimes, ”said Gazi Ataur Rahman, a senior official of Islami Andolan Bangladesh, one of the main Islamist parties in Bangladesh. In Pakistan, a country where Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan accused Emmanuel Macron of “attacking Islam”, some 2,000 people demonstrated in Islamabad.
Religious groups, students and small traders, went to the French embassy screaming “expel the French dog” or “behead the blasphemer”. They were blocked by barricades leading to the diplomatic enclave. Protesters threw stones at the police who responded with tear gas.
“Death to France! Death to Macron! “
“How dare they disrespect our prophet? A Muslim can sacrifice his head and can also cut off the head of the blasphemer, ”said Rasheed Akbar, 34. Another protester, Zahid Malik, called for “expelling the impure French ambassador from the land of the pure”.
Around 10,000 people marched in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, and some 3,000 in Lahore. In India, a country whose Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has supported the French president, the Muslim minority has called for a boycott of French goods. Neighboring Afghanistan, the biggest rally was held in Herat (west) where thousands of people shouted “Death to France! Death to Macron! “
Le Drian calls on the French to be careful
In the Middle East, the largest protest took place in the Old City of Jerusalem, where thousands of Palestinians demonstrated. “There is no god but God, Macron is the enemy of God”, “Muhammad, your nation will not give in”, they chanted. The imam of the Al-Aqsa mosque said he held the French president responsible “for acts of violence and chaos in France because of his provocative statements against Islam.”
Hundreds of Palestinians also protested in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, where portraits of the French president were trampled and set on fire. In Beirut, riot police prevented some 200 protesters from advancing towards the residence of the French ambassador. A handful of protesters threw stones at the police who fired tear gas.
VIDEO. Caricatures: tens of thousands of protesters against France in Bangladesh
In Libya, protests took place in several cities. In the capital Tripoli, dozens of people burned an effigy of Emmanuel Macron and a French flag. Thursday, nearly two weeks after the assassination of the French teacher, an attack left three dead, including two with their throats cut, in a church in Nice, and the head of state denounced “an Islamist terrorist attack”. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called on French nationals living abroad to be cautious, arguing that the threat to French interests was “everywhere”.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr