A cinema in the northwestern city of Peshawar bore the brunt of protesters’ anger in Pakistan, as many tok to the streets in a day of government-sanctioned demonstrations against a film considered blasphemous by Muslims.
By designating Friday a ‘day of love for the Prophet’, critics accuse the government of exploiting anti-US sentiment whipped up by the film, which was produced in America.
However, the US has sent its own message to Pakistan. An advert playing on television in Pakistan has US President Barack Obama saying: “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We refject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None.”
Streets in the usually bustling city of Karachi are deserted, with shops, offices and markets closed for the public holiday.
Rather than protesting or rioting amid beefed up security, people here are choosing to remain at home as a mark of their unhappiness about the film.