Islamist protests: dead and injured in riots in Pakistan

Status: 10/24/2021 00:53

Several people were killed and hundreds injured in clashes between supporters of an outlawed Islamist party and police in Pakistan. The Islamists are demanding the release of their imprisoned chairman.

Clashes between thousands of supporters of an outlawed Islamist party and the police in Pakistan resulted in deaths and injuries for the second day in a row. According to the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), five of its supporters were killed and hundreds injured.

The demonstrators had set out in the second largest city of Lahore to move to the capital, Islamabad, around 270 kilometers away. They demand the expulsion of the French ambassador and the release of the TLP chairman Saad Rizvi.

Dispute over Mohammed cartoons

The Pakistani government has classified the TLP as a “terrorist” organization and has had it banned. As part of the party ban, the TLP chairman Saad Rizvi was arrested in April. The party is at the forefront of massive anti-French demonstrations.

The trigger was statements by French President Emmanuel Macron last year. The French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” republished Mohammed cartoons in 2020, triggering protests in parts of the Muslim world. Macron had, among other things, made a clear commitment to freedom of expression and defended the publication of Mohammed cartoons.

Many Muslims reject a graphic representation of the prophet and find it offensive, but it is not explicitly forbidden in the Koran.

Riots for two days

The clashes had already started on Friday. Protesters threw stones at the police and beat them with sticks. At least three police officers were killed. According to the TLP, two of its supporters died on Friday.

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