Three killed in cartoon protests in Pakistan

Wednesday 15 February 2006 22.37
Pakistan - KFC restaurant attacked
Pakistan - KFC restaurant attacked

Three people have been killed in Pakistan during protests over the publication of cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

Two died in the northwestern city of Peshawar after police tried to quell around 50,000 demonstrators who torched a KFC outlet and trashed a Norwegian mobile phone company's offices.

Around 500 protestors set fire to 16 buses at a bus terminal owned by a South Korean company.

Another person was killed as riots flared for a second day in the eastern city of Lahore.

Officials said that more than 70 people, including a policeman, were wounded in the violence, sparked by the printing of the caricatures in a Danish newspaper and later in other Western countries, including Norway.

The surge of unrest came a day after two people were shot dead and US fast food chains were attacked during huge protests in Lahore, and students stormed a diplomatic enclave in the capital Islamabad.

Pakistan has witnessed almost daily protests since the row over the Danish cartoons erupted last month.

Today's deaths bring the worldwide death toll from the cartoon protests to 18.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has passed a resolution expressing solidarity with Denmark and supporting free speech.