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Violent protests across Pakistan

Pakistan protests
Protesters throw stones amid tear gas fired by police during a demonstration Friday, in Karachi, Pakistan.  


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Violent protests broke out Friday in cities across Pakistan, including the port city of Karachi, where demonstrators torched an American fast food restaurant and several cars.

Friday was the fifth day of protests in Pakistan against the government's support of the U.S. campaign.

There were also protests against the U.S.-led airstrikes in Afghanistan in Iran, Turkey and Indonesia.

It was also the first Friday Muslim prayer day since the U.S. campaign against Afghanistan began. Local police and paramilitary troops were deployed to keep the peace.

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CNN's Christiane Amanpour reports on the latest protests in Pakistan(October 12)

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An umbrella group of 35 Islamic organizations had promised to call a strike Friday to protest the U.S. government action.

Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf promised to take action against the protesters, saying army troops would come in to keep the peace if local police could not.

In a round of security meetings Thursday with regional governors, Musharraf laid out his plan to deploy troops, saying the destruction of property would not be tolerated and instructing the governors how to deal with protests.

In Karachi, demonstrations began before midday prayers Friday with protesters setting fire to several cars, including one owned by the mayor.

Demonstrators clashed with paramilitary troops at least three times before noon, with the troops firing tear gas twice. A Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant was burned.

The leaders of the Afghan Defense Council and the political party Jamaat-i-Islami were placed under house arrest.

Troops had standing orders to block any large gatherings from forming. Armored cars were seen on the streets, and troops and police erected barricades to stop large groups from entering the city. There also was heavy protection in the diplomatic area of Karachi.

A less violent protest took place in Islamabad Friday morning. Still, riot police in masks and helmets were seen in the streets, while army troops patrolled in trucks with guns mounted on them.

Islamabad has a city ordinance banning the gathering of any group larger than five.

The Pakistani government has confirmed there are U.S. troops and aircraft at two bases in the country. Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider said they are there for logistical operations and that no offensive operations are being launched against Afghanistan from Pakistan.

The issue is a contentious one that has played a factor in anti-U.S. sentiment. There was heavy security around the bases at Jacobabad in central Pakistan and no demonstrations were reported there.

A heavy police presence was visible Friday in Quetta, which has seen the most violent demonstrations so far this week.

CNN Correspondent Amanda Kibel reported about 3,000 people listened as leaders delivered anti-American speeches.

However, the mullahs who lead the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party called for their followers to remain calm.

Officials said 1,500 police and army troops were on the streets, but Kibel reported that the number appeared to be much higher. She said 10 trucks carrying Pakistani police were deployed around the stadium.

They said they would enforce a "zero-tolerance" policy against rioting and violence.

Violent demonstrations also took place Friday morning in Peshawar, where anti-American demonstrations have erupted since the airstrikes began in Afghanistan, but were said to be peaceful by the afternoon.

Musharraf has repeatedly said the protests represent a vocal minority and are not representative of the people.

Meanwhile, in Iran, a group of Afghan refugees took part in an anti-U.S. demonstration Friday in Zahedan near the Afghan border. They threw stones at the Pakistani consulate, breaking a few windows, to protest against Pakistani cooperation with the United States. No injuries were reported.

In Turkey, about 1,000 people gathered outside Istanbul's main mosque after Friday prayers to chant anti-U.S. slogans. Police said 15 people were detained, after a smoke bomb was used to disperse the crowd.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, fewer than 1,000 people showed up to demonstrate in front of the U.S. Embassy, despite threats from radical Indonesian Islamic groups that thousands would flood the streets to protest the strikes over Afghanistan. Small but peaceful protests were also held in several other cities in Indonesia.

In anticipation of trouble, officials deployed more than 5,000 police on the streets of the capital. They used water cannon to prevent demonstrators from burning an effigy of U.S. President George W. Bush, but little trouble was reported.



 
 
 
 


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