Cartoon row: Clashes kill protestor in Kabul

Riot erupted during a rally against the Prophet Muhammed cartoons, killing one Afghan and injuring four.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 16:50 IST

Hundreds of Afghans clashed with police and soldiers on Monday during demonstrations against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

One person was killed and at least seven were wounded, officials said.

In the central Afghan city of Mihtarlam, police fired on the demonstrators after a man in the crowd shot at them and others threw stones and knives, said Dad Mohammed Rasa, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

Two of the wounded were police -- one of whom was stabbed by a thrown knife -- while the other two were demonstrators who were shot, Rasa said.

The protesters burned tires and threw stones at the offices of the police and provincial governor, he said.

Meanwhile, police using batons and rifle butts broke up a protest by about 200 youths in front of the presidential palace in Kabul, the Afghan capital.

"Long live Islam! We are Muslims! We don't let anyone insult our prophet!" chanted the demonstrators, many of whom appeared to be teenagers.

They also chanted, "Down with America!" and slogans against the Afghan and US presidents.

Some protesters moved toward the main American base in city and threw stones that smashed windows of a guard house.

Police standing amid the protesters watched but did not intervene.

Hundreds of people demonstrated peacefully in two other cities. The spreading unrest came day after some 4,000 Afghans took to the streets across the country.

The cartoons were first published in a Danish newspaper in September, and more drawings have recently been printed in other European papers, either to illustrate the controversy or demonstrate support for freedom of the press.

But Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, favorable or otherwise, to prevent idolatry. Protests have erupted in several Muslim nations in the past week.

In southern Kandahar city, protesters emerged from a mosque and made their way through a bazaar. Many chanted "Death to Denmark" while carrying white, red and green flags inscribed with "Allah-u-Akbar" or "God is great."

By late morning, the protest swelled to 200 people, including about 40 women _ a rare appearance in the conservative city where women normally stay in their homes. Before the demonstrators dispersed, the mosque's prayer leader, or imam, demanded in a speech that Afghanistan sever diplomatic ties with Denmark.

"We demand of the president and our parliament to recall our ambassador and end all relations with Denmark," the cleric, Mualvi Mohammed Naseem Akhund.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 14:21 IST