PESHAWAR: A protester was shot dead Monday as rallies in Pakistan over an anti-Islam film intensified, with thousands taking to the streets, burning US flags and an effigy of President Barack Obama.
About 800 people demonstrated in the northwestern town of Warai, in Upper Dir district, setting fire to a magistrate’s house and the local press club before one protester was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police.
Up to 3,000 university students, teachers and employees marched in Peshawar, chanting anti-US slogans and demanding a ban on the “Innocence of Muslims” movie.
The low-budget film, thought to have been produced by a small group of Christian extremists in the United States, has sparked violent anti-American protests across the Islamic world, though the Warai incident was the first confirmed death in Pakistan.
“One person was killed and two injured during exchange of fire between the police and protesters,” Mohammad Irshad, a senior local government official, told AFP.
Officers baton-charged protesters, who were chanting anti-US slogans, and fired tear gas to try to disperse them, Irshad said.
They also fired live rounds into the air, prompting the demonstrators to return fire, he said, although it was unclear who fired the fatal shot.
Ihsanullah Khan, police chief for Upper Dir, said 22 protesters had been arrested and the situation was under control.
In the border town of Chaman, in southwestern Balachistan province, where trucks supplying troops with the US-led Nato force in Afghanistan cross the frontier, about 500 students demonstrated, burning an effigy of Obama.
At another protest in Peshawar, some 350 activists from Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, a student wing of the hardline Sunni party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), blocked a main road by setting fire to tyres and burning a US flag, an AFP reporter said.
In the port city of Karachi, where eight people were injured Sunday when protesters clashed with police outside the US consulate, police expanded a security cordon around the mission as religious parties announced more rallies.
“The routes leading to the US Consulate have been heavily guarded and barricaded to avoid any untoward incident,” senior police official Amir Farooqi told AFP.
An AFP reporter at the scene saw heavy containers positioned across roads leading to the consulate to stop vehicles and individuals reaching it.
A total of 18 people have now died in violence linked to the film, including four Americans killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi.
Correction: In an earlier version of the article, it was incorrectly stated that one person was killed in Peshawar instead of Upper Dir. The error is regretted.