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Bangladesh: Protests spread in city over anti-Islam clip


Daily Star:

Twelve like-minded Islamic parties have called a countrywide daylong hartal for Sunday when they fought pitched battle with police around Jatiya Press Club area in the capital to protest against a film and one French weekly's cartoon demeaning Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (pbuh).

At least 30 people including law enforcers were injured and over 20 teargas shells were lobbed during the clash that ensued around 10:30am.

Our reporters covering the event report: More than 40 leaders and activists of the parties were detained when the protesters tried to hold demonstration defying police ban on holding rallies in the area.

Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan Ameer Maulana Shah Ahmadullah Ashraf and its Assistant Organising Secretary Fakhrul Islam and Islami Oikya Jote Secretary General Abdul Latif Nejami are among the arrestees.

The demonstrators torched a motorcycle of a newsman parked at the press club premises and also vandalised three vehicles including a police-van during the clash.

The communications on the road stretching from Paltan intersection to High Court remained suspended for nearly three hours from 10:30am following the incident.

The leaders and activists of the Islamic parties assembled inside the press club premises around 10:00am and held demonstration there to protest the anti-Islamic film and cartoon.

At one stage, they tried to come out from the press club with a procession and police barred them as law enforcers earlier had imposed ban on holding rally in the area.

In this situation, some protestors hurled brick chips at the police from inside the press club while the others came out to clash with the law enforcers, halting the traffic movements on the road.

The law enforcers condoned off the three gates of the press club and arrested the leaders and activists whenever they tried to come out from the premises.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) imposed a ban on holding rallies in Paltan, Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, Kakrail, Dainik Bangla intersection, Bijoynagar and adjacent areas from 5:00pm Friday till
further orders.

DMP Commissioner Benazir Ahmed, in a press release, said the ban was imposed as rallies called by two rival Islamist organisations, Sammilito Olama Mashayekh Parishad and 12 Islamist parties, at the same place on Saturday may lead to conflicts.

The crudely made video, filmed in California and circulated on the Internet under several titles including “Innocence of Muslims”, portrays the Prophet Mohammad engaged in crude and offensive behaviour.

On the other hand, the weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, published a cartoon which includes obscene images intended to represent Prophet Mohammad, as opposed to any other Muslim.

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