36 injured in anti-Islam film protest in Islamabad (Second Lead)

September 20th, 2012 - 10:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Sep 20 (IANS) At least 36 people, including policemen, suffered injuries near the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad Thursday and the army had to be called in to contain a massive protest being staged against a controversial anti-Islam US film.

The demonstrators clashed with the police as they tried to enter the red zone and diplomatic enclave in Islamabad.

Protesters burnt police and Rangers check posts, damaged several vehicles and public property, while the police used tear gas shelling to control the situation.

As the shelling proved ineffective, the army was summoned.

According to Geo News, the Pakistani Army was summoned to protect the red zone and diplomatic enclave in Islamabad from demonstrators. Islamabad’s diplomatic enclave is home to most Western embassies, including the US, British and French missions.

Clashes broke out when thousands of university and college students from the neighbouring Rawalpindi city tried to force into the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad to register their protest at the US embassy over US film “Innocence of Muslims”, reported Samma TV.

Hundreds of heavily armed policemen tried to disperse the protesting mobs with tear smoke but protesting students retaliated with stone-pelting at the police, smashing police vehicles and torching police checkposts.

At least two police checkposts were torched and an unknown number of police vehicles were damaged in the clashes.

When students could not enter the diplomatic enclave, some of them started turning to other places near the diplomatic enclave. Large number of protestors were seen near parliament and a five-star hotel frequented by Westerners, Xinhua reported.

As protests went on, many other people, including traders and religious people joined in. The number of the protestors soon swelled to over 10,000, media reports said.

The 14-minute trailer of “Innocence of Muslims” was originally posted on YouTube last June. It attracted little attention until Sep 8, this year when portions of the trailer were broadcast by a television network in Egypt.

Mass demonstrations over the film broke out in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan and other predominantly Muslim countries. US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed, along with three colleagues, when rioters attacked the US consulate in Benghazi.

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