Pakistan — Hundreds of protesters demonstrating against an anti-Islam film torched a press club and a government building in northwest Pakistan on Monday, sparking clashes with police that left at least one person dead. Demonstrations also turned violent outside a U.S. military base in Afghanistan and the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia.
The attacks were the latest in a week-long wave of violence sparked by the low-budget film, which portrays Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester. Many of the protests have targeted U.S. diplomatic posts throughout the Muslim world, including one that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, forcing Washington to ramp up security in select countries.
Protesters have directed their anger at the U.S. government even though the film was privately produced and American officials have criticized it for intentionally offending Muslims.
Several hundred demonstrators in Pakistan’s northwest clashed with police Monday after setting fire to a press club and a government building, said police official Mukhtar Ahmed. 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, he said.
Police charged the crowd, beating protesters back with batons, Ahmad said. The demonstrators then attacked the office of a senior government official and surrounded a local police station, said Ahmad, who was had locked himself inside with several other officers.
One protester died when police and demonstrators exchanged fire and several others were wounded, police official Akhtar Hayat said.
The violence came a day after hundreds of protesters clashed with police when they tried to storm the U.S. Consulate in the southern city of Karachi. One protester was killed and over a dozen were wounded.
Pakistanis have also held many peaceful protests against the film, including one in the southwest town of Chaman on Monday attended by around 3,000 students and teachers.
In neighboring Afghanistan, hundreds of people burned cars and threw rocks at a U.S. military base in the capital, Kabul. Many in the crowd shouted “Death to America!” and “Death to those people who have made a film and insulted our prophet.”