PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) -Pakistani police fired tear gas and charged with batons on Monday to detain hundreds of students who staged a violent protest against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
Up to 6,000 students, shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) and “Death to America,” pelted offices and shops with stones during the protest in the northwestern city Peshawar.
“We had no other option but to resort to tear gas and baton-charge them,” Mohammad Tahir Khan, a superintendent of police, told Reuters. “We have taken hundreds of them into custody.”
He said some students sustained minor injuries.
Protests against the satirical cartoons, first published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten last September, have been held almost daily in Pakistan since they were reprinted in European newspapers in January and this month.
Many Muslims believe it is blasphemous to depict the Prophet, and the cartoons — one of which showed the Prophet wearing a bomb-shaped turban — have sparked protests across the Muslim world.
So far the demonstrations in Pakistan, the second most-populous Muslim nation, have not been large by local standards, but Islamists have called for a nationwide strike on March 3.