Looks like it’s 2006 all over again.
At least five people were killed on Saturday during a second day of unrest in Niger, as French citizens were warned to stay indoors amid anger in several Muslim countries over a Prophet Mohammed cartoon published by Charlie Hebdo this week.
Police fired teargas at crowds of stone-throwing youths, who set fire to churches and looted shops in Niger’s capital Niamey. … President [Mahamadou Issoufou] has condemned the deaths of five people in Niamey today, four of whom died in burned churches and one woman who died in a bar.
The unrest came a day after at least four people were killed and 45 others were injured in protests in Niger’s second largest city Zinder, with demonstrators ransacking three churches and torching the French cultural centre.
“We’ve never seen that in living memory in Zinder,” a local administration official said.
There was also bloodshed in Karachi, Pakistan, where three people were injured when protesters clashed with police outside the French consulate, officials said. Among them was an AFP photographer [Asif Hassan], who was shot in the back. … Elsewhere in Pakistan, protesters in Peshawar and Multan burned French flags on the streets while rallies were also held in Islamabad and Lahore.
On the Muslim weekly day of prayers, thousands flooded the streets of Bamako Friday in response to calls by leading clerics and Mali’s main Islamic body, chanting “Hands off my prophet” and “I am Muslim and I love my prophet.”
In Jordan’s Amman, around 2,500 protesters set off from Al-Husseini mosque under tight security, holding banners that read “insulting the prophet is global terrorism“.
There were clashes between protesters and riot police in Algiers, where up to 3,000 marchers chanted “We are all Mohammed,” with some also shouting their support for the Kouachi brothers.
In Dakar, police fired tear gas grenades to disperse about 1,000 protesters who chanted “Allahu Akbar” and torched a French flag.
In Nouakchott, thousands marched chanting, “We are here to defend the prophet.” Some set fire to a French flag after security forces prevented them from reaching France’s embassy, witnesses said. Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz addressed the marchers, condemning the controversial cartoon as “an attack on our religion and on all religions”.
In Khartoum, hundreds poured out of the Grand Mosque and marched across the adjacent square, chanting “Expel the French ambassador. Victory to the Prophet of God!”
We can say with some confidence that none of the protesters and rioters who participated in these events took to the streets in righteous anger after 17 people were mowed down in France the Wednesday before last… or even after as many as 2,000 Nigerian Muslims were massacred by Boko Haram’s Islamist fundies the other week.
A gentle, conciliatory drawing under the banner “All Is Forgiven,” on the other hand — that sets off the anger and protestations.
(Image via Shutterstock)