24 injured at anti-Charlie Hebdo protest in Kabul

AFP , Saturday 31 Jan 2015

At least 24 people were injured Saturday when a protest in Kabul against French magazine Charlie Hebdo turned angry, police said, with officers firing warning shots after demonstrators pelted them with stones.

Some 500 people joined the rally on the outskirts of the Afghan capital to express their anger against the satirical magazine's publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

"Seven protesters were wounded during the protest and they were taken to hospital," Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi told AFP.

Seventeen policemen were also injured when protesters hurled rocks at them, he added. Smoke was seen rising from the scene by an AFP photographer.

Local media, citing witnesses, said at least two people had been killed in the unrest, but the police chief dismissed the reports.

Islamist gunmen shot dead 12 people at Charlie Hebdo's Paris offices on January 7.

The satirical weekly, which lampoons everyone from the pope to presidents, had sparked anger in the Islamic world in the past with its cartoons of Mohammed.

Many Muslims consider depictions of the prophet to be blasphemous.

The attack on Charlie Hebdo sparked worldwide protests in defence of freedom of speech, but the magazine stirred fresh anger in Muslim countries a week after the shootings with a defiant "survivors' issue" that again featured Mohammed on the front page.

Angry crowds poured onto the streets from Pakistan to Ivory Coast to vent their rage at the new cover.

At least 20,000 people protested against the magazine in the western Afghan city of Herat last week, while several thousand others rallied in Kabul chanting "death to France, death to the enemies of Islam".

Police said Saturday's protest had been brought under control and the road opened for traffic.

"The protesters were throwing stones at the police, and the police fired some shots in the air to stop the protesters," said Kabul deputy police chief Gul Agha Rohani.

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