Pakistani police fire tear gas at protesters trying to approach French Embassy
Around 3,000 protesters stage a rally against the reprinting of blasphemous cartoons in France
Police in Islamabad on Friday briefly fired tear gas at protesters who broke through security blockades in a failed attempt to demonstrate at the French Embassy against the printing of blasphemous cartoons.
No one was injured and protesters later moved back towards a gathering spot originally agreed with the authorities, police said.
Muslims around the world have protested against France and President Emmanuel Macron for his stance on reprinting of blasphemous cartoons.
Around 3,000 protesters gathered in Islamabad, about half a kilometre from the fortified diplomatic enclave where the French Embassy is, according to a witness.
Roads leading to the enclave were blocked using shipping containers and barbed wire and were guarded by riot police, but protesters managed to climb over the blockades — prompting police to fire tear gas.
“We needed to fire teargas shells when the protesters tried to violate their agreement,” police official Amanullah Niazi said, referring to an agreement with protest leaders that they would not progress beyond a certain point.
The protest was organised by a traders’ association, which has already announced that it would take French products off shelves across the country, and came on the day the country is celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
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