A Pakistani protestor has died after inhaling smoke from burning U.S. flags during a rally against the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims.
Abdullah Ismail died in Mayo hospital in Lahore having complained of feeling unwell during the angry demonstrations in the eastern Pakistan city yesterday.
Around 10,000 people are estimated to have taken part in the protest organised by the group Tehreek Hurmat-i-Rasool.
Pakistani Shiite Muslims climb the U.S. consulate wall to burn an American flag during a protest in Lahore against the anti-Islam movie
Demonstrators chanted anti-U.S. slogans before setting light to an American flag outside the U.S. Consulate.
Some, who tried to reach the wall of the building, scuffled with baton-wielding police.
The participants marched from Nila Gumbad to Masjid-i-Shuhada on The Mall and despite a ban on rallies on The Mall, the road remained blocked to traffic until 6pm
A number of religious leaders addressed the rally including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, head of the Jamatud Dawa organisation – one of the largest and most active militant Islamist groups in South Asia.
He claimed the film had been produced with the backing of the U.S. establishment.
Activists of the Sirat-e-Mustaqeem Foundation burn the U.S. flag in Lahore during the protest against the anti-Islamic movie
He said director Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and others involved in its production and release must be hanged.
According to the Express Tribune he told protestors: ‘The U.S. must make a law against blasphemy – or we will not let the U.S. consulates in Pakistan function.’
He also dismissed the value of the resolution made on September 13 by parliament which condemning the movie. He said the country’s president Asif Ali Zardari must announce jihad against countries such as the U.S. who ‘support attacks on Islam’.
He also urged The Organisation of Islamic Countries Conference to boycott U.S. goods.
Meanwhile other rallies against the controversial film, which sparked controversy after a trailer was posted on YouTube, took place across Pakistan.
Pakistani Sunni Muslims torch a US flag during the protest in Lahore where more than 10,000 demonstrators took to the streets
Several hundred demonstrators in the northwestern part of the country clashed with police after setting fire to a press club and a government building.
The protesters apparently attacked the press club in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Upper Dir district because they were angry their rally wasn’t getting more coverage, according to the police.
I the town of Wari officers charged a crowd, beating protesters back with batons, police official Mukhtar Ahmed said.
The demonstrators then attacked an office belonging to a senior government official and surrounded a local police station, where officers locked themselves in.
Another protester died when police and demonstrators exchanged fire in the city, and several others were wounded, police spokesman Akhtar Hayat said.
In the southern city of Karachi Hundreds battled police for a second day as they tried to reach the U.S. Consulate.
A Pakistani Shiite Muslim woman holds a placard outside the U.S. consulate during the protest
Police lobbed tear gas and fired in the air to disperse the protesters from the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami party.
Police arrested 40 students, but no injuries were reported.
Pakistanis have also held many peaceful protests against the film, including one in the southwest town of Chaman, attended by around 3,000 students and teachers.
The chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered the government’s telecommunications authority to block access to the film.
Government officials have said they are trying to block the video, as well as other content considered blasphemous, but it is still viewable on YouTube today.
The movie portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester.
Protesters have directed their anger at the U.S. government, insisting it should do something to stop it, although the film was privately produced. American officials have criticized it for intentionally offending Muslims.