Protests Over Charlie Hebdo 'Kill Four' In Niger, Demonstrations In Jordan, India And Sudan

At least four people have been killed after protests against Charlie Hebdo' new cover depicting Mohammed turned violent.

A police officer and three civilians died and 45 people were injured in protests against the cover in Zinder, a city in Niger, the BBC reported.

"Some of the protesters were armed with bows and arrows as well as clubs. The clashes were very violent in some places," a source told Reuters.

The deaths come after a rally by Pakistani students against the French satirical weekly's turned violent on Friday, with police firing warning shots and water cannons to disperse the demonstration. A photographer with the Agence France-Presse was shot and wounded in the melee.

Although there were concerns that rallies against Charlie Hebdo' new cover depicting the prophet — an act deemed insulting to many followers of Islam — would unravel into violence across the Muslim world, most of the protests elsewhere passed peacefully

The weekly's new issue with a drawing of Muhammad, a tear rolling down his cheek and holding a placard that reads "Je Suis Charlie" — a saying that has swept France and the world — was an act of defiance in the wake of last week's terrorist attack at the paper's Paris office that killed 12 people, including editors, cartoonists and two policemen.

Pakistan has condemned the Paris massacre but many people in this overwhelmingly Muslim country view the magazine's prophet caricatures as a profound insult. Protesters took to the streets after midday prayers in the port city of Karachi, the eastern city of Lahore and the capital of Islamabad to denounce the weekly.

Pakistani demonstrators burn a French flag during a protest against the printing of satirical sketches of the Prophet Muhammad by French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Quetta on January 16, 2014.

In Karachi, clashes erupted when the protesters started heading toward the French Consulate. The protesters began throwing stones at the police, who tried to push them back with water cannons and tear gas.

AFP news director Michele Leridon said that photographer Asif Hassan was shot and wounded. He underwent surgery and "his life does not seem in danger," Leridon said.

It was not immediately clear how Hassan was shot, and AFP said they were now trying to find out whether he was targeted or accidentally shot.

Karachi police officer, Naseer Tanoly, said some of the protesters were armed and opened fire on the police first. He said the police fired into the air to disperse the crowd. The protesters were mostly students affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami political party.

In Islamabad, about 1,000 people gathered after Friday prayers to condemn the magazine for what they called blasphemous images of the prophet. The demonstrators carried signs that read "Shame on Charlie Hebdo" and "If you are Charlie, then I am Kouachi" — referring to the brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi who carried out the assault on the weekly and who had told survivors they were sent by al-Qaida in Yemen.

In Lahore, about 800 people rallied against the magazine for a second day. On Thursday, Pakistani lawmakers passed a resolution against cartoons of the prophet and marched outside parliament to protest Charlie Hebdo's latest cover.

An injured AFP photographer (C) is assisted by friends during clashes between the demonstrators and police near the French Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, on January 16, 2015

The magazine has invoked freedom of speech to defend its publications of cartoons of the prophet.

In the Jordanian capital, Amman, clashes also erupted after Friday prayers between about 2,000 protesters organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition group, and security forces. Riot police used batons to disperse the protesters as they tried to march to the French Embassy.

The crowd chanted slogans against Charlie Hebdo and Jordanian officials for taking part in the Paris unity march. The Jordanian royal house denounced the latest publication of Charlie Hebdo for its front cover, saying publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad was "irresponsible and far from the essence of freedom of expression" but King Abdullah and Queen Rania took part in the Paris march in solidarity with the victims of the terror attack.

In Istanbul, about 160 men held funeral prayers Friday to honor the Kouachi brothers. They shouted, "God is great," and held a banner showing former al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden's picture on one side and the Kouachi brothers superimposed over the Parisian skyline on the other. There were also smaller posters with the slogans "We are all Cherif" and "We are all Said" among the demonstrators.

In Sudan, several hundred Muslim worshippers marched briefly after Friday prayers in downtown Khartoum, demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador from the country, chanting they are ready to sacrifice their "blood ad soul to protect" the prophet.

Saudi Arabia's top council of senior clerics on Friday condemned Charlie Hebdo's latest depiction of the prophet and said it only serves extremists looking to justify murder and terrorism.

Qatar said it strongly condemned the French weekly's act and urged Western media "to respect others and their beliefs" and refrain from acts of intolerance and extremism.

Charlie Hebdo Protests

Dave Brown, The Independent

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