Pakistani protests against anti-Islamic film leave at least 1 dead
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Protests in Pakistan against a film mocking the prophet Muhammad intensified Monday as demonstrators set ablaze buildings in the northwest and hurled stones at riot police in the southern city of Karachi, the nation’s commercial hub.
At least one protester was killed when about 800 demonstrators clashed with police in the northwest region of Upper Dir, along the Afghan border, local authorities said. Protesters torched a press club and the homes and offices of government officials, said Muhammad Mukhtiar, a local police officer. Five people were arrested.
Police did not say how the demonstrator was killed.
In Karachi, hundreds of students affiliated with a fundamentalist organization, Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, set on fire American flags, burned tires in the street and threw stones at police, authorities said. Police fired tear gas at demonstrators and arrested at least 40 people.
On Sunday, demonstrators in Karachi, the country’s largest city, tried to storm the U.S. Consulate and set ablaze three police vans and a bus.
Other demonstrations against the film also broke out in Lahore, the country’s second-largest city, and the northwest city of Peshawar. Leaders of Pakistan’s religious right-wing parties have promised to step up protests across the country this week.
[Updated 9:40 a.m., Sept. 17: With the protests ratcheting up, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Ashraf ordered the immediate blocking of YouTube, the website on which a video trailer of the film has been posted. According to a statement issued by Ashraf’s office, he issued the order after YouTube “refused to heed the advice of the government of Pakistan to remove the blasphemous film from its site.”
YouTube will remain blocked in Pakistan until the trailer is removed from the site, according to the statement.]
-- Alex Rodriguez in Islamabad and Zulfiqar Ali in Peshawar