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Africa

Riot police on Paris streets to stop Mohammed cartoons protests

media French police near the Eiggel Tower on Saturday Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Riot police were out in force in Paris on Saturday to enforce a ban on demonstrations against the magazine Charlie Hebdo’s Mohammed cartoons and the Innocence of Muslims film. A man was jailed for carrying a folding truncheon on a demonstration last week and elsewhere in France another man was arrested for calling for the paper’s editor to be decapitated.

A total of 800 CRS riot police were stationed near Paris’s Grand Mosque, on the Trocadéro square that faces the Eiffel Tower and on the Place de la Concorde, near the US embassy, where 150 people were arrested at an unauthorised protest last Saturday.

About 15 people, including several women wearing Islamic veils, were detained at Trocadéro early in the afternoon. Two of them were  and One shouted, "Screw secularism!", according to Le Parisien.

The authorities would get tough with anyone defying the ban on demonstrations, Interior Minister Manuel Valls told the newspaper Saturday after calls to protest went out on social networks and SMSs.

“Very determined individuals” were working to “provoke and drag young people into delinquency”, he said, but he added that calls for calm by Muslim leaders should reduce the chances of disorder.

A 24-year-old railworker was sentenced to three months in jail on Saturday for carrying a weapon and participating in an armed assembly.

He had been arrested for having a telescopic baton on last Saturday’s protest and claimed to be carrying it in case Jewish extremists attacked the rally.

In the western city of La Rochelle a man was arrested for incitement to commit murder after he called for the head of Charlie Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier, known as Charb, on a jihadi website.

Small demonstrations targeting the French embassies in London and the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, took place after Muslim prayers on Friday.

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