Protests in Pakistan against a ‘blasphemous’ film have turned deadly, with at least 17 people losing their lives and almost 200 wounded.
Two police officers are among the dead.
Friday had been declared a ‘day of love for the Prophet’ by the government to allow sanctioned demonstrations against the low-budget movie produced in the US that has offended Muslims all over the world.
In an effort to calm the situation, an advert featuring the US President Barack Obama has been airing on television in Pakistan.
“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,” says Obama during the advert.
Cinemas have been targeted during the violence, with at least six around the country burnt to the ground.
Despite tight security, protesters were able to get close to the US embassy in the capital Islamabad.
The movie which portrays the Prophet Mohammed as a liar and womaniser has sparked anger in several countries.
However, critics are accusing Pakistan’s government of stoking the flames to distract from domestic issues also causing discontent – such as poverty, a Taliban insurgency, corruption and chronic power cuts.