Three people have been killed and another 14 injured on Friday in clashes at Pakistani protests against an anti-Islam film. The government previously declared the day a public holiday, named “The Day of Love.”
The violence has left two police officers in Karachi and a driver working for a private TV station in Peshawar dead.
This comes after Pakistani anti-US protesters have torched two cinemas in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
RT correspondent Paula Slier reports there is a standoff between police and protesters trying to reach the US embassy in Islamabad, and that the army has been called in. Throngs are pelting stones at officers, who in turn teargas them as they attempt to storm the embassy.
“What we’re witnessing is the spark to the fire that is seeing tens of thousands of people take to the streets in these cities to hold the US responsible for what they say is the worst attack ever on Islam,” Slier said.
All this is amid the Day of Love, officially dedicated to honoring the Prophet. The government calls for peaceful protests, but the rallies have already turned violent.
Shops, markets, petrol stations have been closed in Pakistan, and transport is likely to be halted over concerns that new protests will be held, RT’s Paula Slier tweets.
Mobile service has been suspended in 15 Pakistani cities, and won’t resume until at least 6pm (13:00 GMT).
The Pakistani government has blocked YouTube and declared a holiday in the country, which has been gripped by violent protests.
On Thursday, thousands tried to besiege the American embassy, with police using teargas and batons to disperse the protesters. MoEight policemen were wounded in the clashes with the demonstrators. AFP reported that security forces fired warning shots into the air, and that some students were armed with wooden clubs.
The live fire reportedly scattered the protesters temporarily, but they were soon back, throwing stones at the security forces.
Muslims around the world have been protesting for more than a week over an American-made movie insulting the Prophet Mohammed emerged online, and a French satirical magazine later published cartoons of the founder of Islam.
In Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, and other countries protests have been raging, with over 40 people killed and hundreds injured across the Muslim world during the week.st of them were students, officials said.