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Toon row: Three dead, dozens injured in Pak

Police fired tear gas and shots in the air as thousands of people in Peshawar held new protests against cartoons of the Prophet.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 16:05 IST

Three Pakistanis, including a child, were killed and dozens injured on Wednesday in protests against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, a hospital official said, bringing the country's death toll from the riots to 4.

Pakistani police fired tear gas and shots in the air on Wednesday as thousands of people in the northwestern city of Peshawar held new protests against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

The main rally of 5,000 people in Peshawar's central bazaar was peaceful, although demonstrators chanted "Death to America, Death to Denmark" and burned the flags of countries where the drawings have appeared, witnesses said.

However, police used tear gas and aerial firing to stop a separate group of around 500 Afghan refugees getting to a tent camp and joining forces with other Afghans planning to hold protests.

The trouble came a day after two people died in Pakistan's most violent demonstrations yet against the caricatures, with mobs rampaging through the eastern city of Lahore and storming a diplomatic area in Islamabad.

Peshawar was also brought to a virtual standstill as demonstrators set up roadblocks with burning tyres to stop all vehicles, an agency correspondent said.

Public transport workers and traders in Peshawar also went on strike to show their anger at the drawings, which were first published in a Danish newspaper in September and later in other Western dailies.

Peshawar still plays host to thousands of Afghans who fled to neighbouring Pakistan during their country's 25-year stretch of Soviet occupation, civil war and Taliban repression.

First Published: Feb 15, 2006 13:06 IST