Ministers appeal for calm

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Senior ministers appealed for calm as Conservatives demanded that police take action against Muslim demonstrators who threatened retaliation against countries whose media published the offending cartoons.

The fallout from Friday's London demonstrations dominated political debate as MPs and Muslim leaders condemned protesters who carried placards with slogans such as "Massacre those who insult Islam".

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that he was "disgusted" by the protests while the group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has been threatened with proscription, said the placards were "not acceptable."

Peter Hain, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, appealed yesterday for all sides in the controversy to "cool it".

But Dominic Grieve, the shadow attorney general, criticised police for failing to arrest radical demonstrators on Friday. "It is certainly not a happy state of affairs where such a demonstration takes place and those people who are acting in that way don't end up under arrest before the demonstration is ended."

David Winnick, a Labour member of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, called for people carrying placards threatening violence and glorifying terrorism to be prosecuted or deported.

Scotland Yard said police had received more than 100 complaints about the protests but no arrests were made. A spokesman said: "Arrests, if necessary, will be made at the most appropriate time. All complaints made to police will be investigated."

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, also condemned the placards, and described the attacks on the Danish embassy in Beirut as "absolutely outrageous and totally unjustified and what we want to see is this matter being calmed down."