Denmark pulls ambassador from Pakistan

Sunday 19 February 2006 22.37
Islamabad - Police battle with protestors
Islamabad - Police battle with protestors

Denmark has ordered its ambassador in Pakistan to return home following the closure of the country's embassy in the capital Islamabad.

The embassy's office in the capital, Islamabad, was temporarily closed on Friday in response to the rioting in which at least five people were killed.

The German embassy in Islamabad will handle Denmark's consular affairs for the time being.

Since mobs set fire to the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus on 4 February, Denmark has closed its embassies in Iran, Syria and Indonesia and two consulates in Lebanon and Tunisia.

Meanwhile, Pakistani police fired tear gas today to disperse hundreds of youths gathered in Islamabad to protest against the cartoons in defiance of an official ban on rallies.

Police used tear gas to foil attempts by protestors to reach the heavily guarded diplomatic enclave, and made baton charges when they hurled stones.

The capital's commercial district area was littered with empty tear gas canisters and stones after the stand-off that lasted several hours.

Istanbul protests

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Istanbul to protest against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Straw effigies of Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of
Denmark, where the cartoons were first published in September last year, and of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush were burned during the demonstration.

It was held in a square in the western side of the city, and organised by the Felicity Party, an Islamic organisation.

Numerous similar demonstrations have been held in recent days across Turkey, whose population is overwhelmingly Muslim.

The Turkish government has also condemned the cartoons, one of which portrays Mohammed - in itself a taboo for Muslims - with a bomb in his turban.

US embassy damaged

Demonstrators in Jakarta turned their wrath on the US embassy, beating on the gate with sticks and pelting the building with tomatoes, eggs and stones.

The missiles shattered glass in the guard post and cracked fibreglass-like material in the gate.

About 50 police were on hand but unable to keep the more than 200 members of Indonesia's militant Islamic Defenders Front from the embassy gate.

17 killed in Nigeria violence

At least 16 people were killed in Nigera when demonstrations against caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed turned violent.

Christians were attacked and several churches were set on fire.

It was the first time protests wre staged in Nigeria in connection with the cartoons.

More than two hundred people were arrested.