Violent protests are a 'growing global crisis'

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Indy Politics

The violent uproar over the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed has become "a growing global crisis", the Prime Minister of Denmark said.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen accused "radicals, extremists and fanatics" of fanning the flames of Muslim wrath to "push forward their own agenda". At least nine people have been killed in protests against the cartoons.

In Afghanistan, police shot dead four protesters after a crowd attacked a Nato base at Meymaneh. Three soldiers, one Norwegian and two Finns, were injured.

In Denmark, the 12 cartoonists whose work sparked the controversy were in hiding and under police guard.

In Iran a crowd pelted the Danish embassy with petrol bombs and stones for a second day. The Norwegian mission was petrol bombed.

The Danish foreign ministry said that its embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, had been temporarily closed. Niels Erik Andersen, Denmark's ambassador to Indonesia, said Muslim groups throughout the South-east Asian nation were burning Danish flags and effigies of Mr Fogh Rasmussen. "A Muslim organisation said it was looking for Danes on the streets," he said.

In Brussels, the European Union presidency issued a warning to 19 countries across the Middle East that they were obliged to protect EU missions, following the torching of Danish missions in Syria and Lebanon at the weekend.

In Pakistan, 5,000 Islamists protested against the cartoons in Peshawar, capital of the North-West Frontier Province. They chanted "Hang the man who insulted the prophet," and burnt effigies of one cartoonist and Mr Fogh Rasmussen. The rally was sponsored by a hardline Islamic provincial government.

Further protests erupted in Yemen, Djibouti, Gaza and Azerbaijan. More than 10,000 people marched in the Bangladeshi capital and tens of thousands turned out in Niger's capital, Niamey, to vent their anger. State assembly members in mostly Muslim Kano, northern Nigeria, burnt Danish flags.

In Egypt and Jordan, thousands demonstrated peacefully, demanding a boycott of Danish products and the severance of relations with Copenhagen. About 10,000 people, mostly students, joined demonstrations at universities in Cairo.

Several hundred Moroccans demonstrating in front of Denmark's commercial mission in Casablanca echoed their sentiments. "We respect your religion, respect ours," read one protester's sign.