Thousands protest in Bangladesh over anti-Islam film

By AFP
Published: September 14, 2012
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Protesters burnt American and Israeli flags and tried to march to the US embassy. PHOTO: AFP

Protesters burnt American and Israeli flags and tried to march to the US embassy. PHOTO: AFP

DHAKA: About 10,000 protesters in Bangladesh burnt American and Israeli flags and tried to march to the US embassy on Friday to demonstrate against an anti-Islam film that has infuriated the Muslim world

Chanting “God is Great”, “Smash the black hands of Jews” and “We won’t tolerate insult to our great prophet”, the protesters held rowdy demonstrations outside the Baitul Mokarram Mosque, the country’s largest, after Friday prayers.

Hundreds of police and rifle-wielding elite Rapid Action Battalion, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and water cannons followed the rally and blocked them miles from the heavily-fortified US embassy.

“It was peaceful. We blocked their procession after they marched more than a mile,” local police chief Golam Sarwar told AFP.

Sarwar said the biggest march attracted about 5,000 people, while five other smaller groups had around 1,000 protesters each.

Chief cleric of the Baitul Mokarram Mosque, Maulana Mohammad Salahuddin, slammed the film during his Friday sermons. “We want exemplary punishment to the filmmakers,” he said.

But he asked the 20,000 worshippers who attended the Friday prayers not “to cross the line in their protest or cause any harm to people or property”.

Bangladesh police said they had boosted security at the US embassy to prevent any repeat of violence that left four Americans including the US ambassador dead in Libya on Tuesday.

Some 90 percent of Bangladesh’s 153 million people are Muslims. The country saw protests by tens of thousands of people against the publication of Mohammed cartoons by a Danish newspaper in 2006.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Cautious
    Sep 14, 2012 - 8:44PM

    Kudos to the Bangladesh authorities – allowed free speech while keeping the protestors from committing violence. I wonder if the protesters would feel foolish when they find out the producer of the film was an Egyptian Christian Coptic who is living in the USA — anyone think that Israel is due an apology?

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  • Salim Ansari
    Sep 14, 2012 - 9:19PM

    What if Amrica and Europe say on to garment exports from Bangladesh and India says they can handle orders ?

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  • American in Bangladesh
    Sep 14, 2012 - 11:15PM

    What’s amazing to me is that there are over 300,000,000 people living in the United States. Most Americans would never dream of making a video against something they disagreed with. How many of these average Americans speak out against Islam? Only the nut jobs.
    Is this guy who made this stupid video even an American citizen? How long has he been there? Do any of these protestors even care or was this just a convenient excuse to once again get together and chant Death to America?

    There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans living in Bangladesh working to try and make Bangladesh a more livable place -not for themselves, but for Bangladeshis. It’s the same in all of the countries where there are people protesting this video. Why are they not protesting to talk about how good Mohammed is? What makes this a reason to want to kill me, my husband, my children? Unless these people just sit around and wait for any irrational excuse to get crazy. As much as I care for and respect the people I see and talk to everyday on the streets, now I’m looking at them and wondering if I am about to be dragged through the streets simply because some Egyptian guy went to my country and made an obnoxious video.

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  • John B
    Sep 15, 2012 - 6:22AM

    @American in Bangladesh:
    Stay safely.

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  • Shakil
    Sep 16, 2012 - 5:27AM

    @Salim Ansari:

    So you are talking economics here while the subject is about sentimental religious belief and respect for one’s prophet. Grow up !

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