Deadly protests erupt in Pakistan over anti-Islam film

Reports say fifteen people have been killed in protests against an anti-Islam film, 12 in Karachi, Pakistani officials say

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The Independent Online

At least 17 people have been killed and hundreds injured in fresh protests across Pakistan today as the anger over an anti-Muslim film refused to abate.

Tens of thousands of people turned out to show their anger at the film made in the US.

At least seventeen people were reported killed across the country, three in clashes on the streets of Peshawar and twelve in the port city of Karachi.

The Pakistani government declared today a national holiday and a 'day of love' for the Prophet Mohammad.

Earlier a driver for a Pakistani TV reporter was killed when police fired shots to disperse protesters in Peshawar.

The film that provoked the protests, The Innocence of Muslims, has already sparked violent demonstrations worldwide claiming the lives of at least 30 people dead, including two in Pakistan.

The US has reportedly paid for adverts in Pakistan showing US President Barack Obama condemning the film.

The Pakistani government has blocked mobile phone use in 15 major cities amid fears militants may use them to detonate bombs.

Anti-Western sentiment was stoked further this week after a French satirical magazine published nude cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

The magazine 'Charlie Hebdo' published provocative cartoons of a naked Prophet Mohammad in sexually-suggestive positions.

The vulgarity of some of the drawings, and Charlie Hebdo's record of publishing anti-Islamic cartoons, seems certain to provoke an extreme response in Muslim countries and among radical Muslims in France.

The offices of Charlie Hebdo were fire-bombed last year after the magazine published an edition entitled 'Sharia Hebdo' describing it as 'guest edited' by the  Prophet Mohammad.

Incidents have been reported in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

The French Foreign Ministry announced earlier this week that it would close around 20 embassies and other official offices around the world in anticipation of the expected protests.

The period after Friday prayers is considered a traditional time for protest in the Muslim world.

The US has also closed diplomatic missions throughout Indonesia because of the continuing protests.

Elsewhere in the Muslim world protests were broadly peaceful:

In Afghanistan 900 people gathered to protest in Kabul the crowd chanted 'death to America' but the protests remained largely peaceful.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacked the west for allowing the film to exist in the name freedom of speech.

Ahmadinejad branded this a 'deception'.

US diplomatic missions were closed across Indonesia. Protests at the US embassy in Jakarta were small and mainly peaceful.

In Iraq around 3,000 people protested against the film in Basra.

The protesters burnt American and Israeli flags.

In Sri Lanka protesters burnt effigies of Barack Obama and American flags at a protest following Friday prayers.

In Bangladesh around 2,000 people marched through the streets of the  capital, Dhaka.

The protesters burnt a coffin draped in an American flag.

In Kashmir police  enforced a day long curfew in parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir's main city, Srinagar, and chased away protesters opposing the anti-Islam film.

The government also reportedly blocked mobile phone signals.

Mystery continues to surround the origin of the Innocence of Muslims film which depicts Islam's prophet as a womanizer, religious fraud and child molester.