Orchestrated by the government, which obliged all its employees to attend, Chechens have held a huge demonstration in their capital Grozny to protest against the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed carried by French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’.
Officials said over a million people gathered for the occasion.
“What is happening in France, these cartoons, is an unbearable pain for each Muslim. We just want to show people that we should live in peace,” said one man.
Protests continue throughout the Muslim world, but were much smaller in Tehran, where some 500 people answered a call to protest near the French embassy as news broke that Charlie’s print run was being extended to seven million copies internationally.
Several hundred people also gathered in Jalalabad in Afghanistan, which has seen three straight days of protests.
“We want an apology from France’s government to the Muslim community,” demanded one man, who also called for the closure of French embassies throughout the Muslim world if no apology was forthcoming.
And in Gaza Palestinian Salafists burnt the tricolor in front of the French cultural centre, which was later encircled by Hamas security forces for its protection.