A look at protests and events across the world on Wednesday responding to an anti-Muslim film, a week after angry crowds began assaulting a string of U.S. embassies in the Mideast.
A satirical French weekly, Charlie Hebdo, published vulgar caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The magazine's crude cartoons played off the film and ridiculed the violent reaction to it. France stepped up security at embassies and deployed riot police outside the weekly's offices. The government defended the newspaper's right to publish the caricatures. Authorities and Muslim leaders urged calm in the country, which has the largest Muslim population in western Europe.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said organizers of a demonstration against the film, planned for Saturday, won't receive police authorization.
The renewed debate in France about the limits of free expression spread to neighboring Germany with the country's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle calling on all those "who rightly invoke the right of freedom of speech, to also act responsibly." Speaking in Berlin, Westerwelle said, "the one who now puts more oil on the fire on purpose, with obvious effect, is not the greatest thinker."
The German Embassy in Sudan, which was attacked last week, remains closed and security at the country's embassies in other countries has been beefed up.
The United States temporarily closed its consulate in the country's third largest city of Medan because of demonstrations. It was the third consecutive day of protests in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province. About 300 members of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, a pan-Islamic movement, rallied peacefully in front of the consulate in Medan. About 50 Muslim students also protested there a separate rally. Both groups called on Washington to punish the makers of the film.
Several hundred lawyers protested the anti-Islam video in the capital Islamabad, forcing their way into an area that houses the U.S. Embassy and other foreign missions. The protesters shouted anti-American slogans and burned an American flag after they pushed through a gate, gaining access to the diplomatic enclave before police stopped them. They called for the U.S. ambassador to be expelled from the country, and then peacefully dispersed.
About 300 Muslims protested against the film in the capital Colombo, calling for its U.S.-based creators to be hanged. They carried signs and banners that read, "Ban anti-Islamic film all over the world. U.S. should apologize to Muslims," and chanted, "Hang the producer and director of the film." Protesters also spit upon and walked on U.S. and Israeli flags during the demonstration, which was organized by an Islamic group called Sri Lanka Thaweed Jamath.
Hundreds of university students in the eastern city of Jalalabad staged a protest and burned an effigy of President Barack Obama before dispersing peacefully.
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