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Africa

Protests across Muslim world after Charlie Hebdo cartoon, Niger turns violent

media Thousand of protestors came together in Zinder on Friday to express their anger against the cartoon on Carlie Hebdo's cover. AFP PHOTO

Reactions to the satirical magazine’s choice of cover this week – a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad – continue around the Muslim world.

Mass protests continue in Zinder – the second city of Niger – after violence on Friday, including ransacking three of the city’s churches and arson of the French Cultural Centre.

In Niamey, the capital, two churches were torched and 100 riot policemen stood guard in front of the city's cathedral.

On Saturday three protestors and one policeman were killed, and 45 others were wounded.

A doctor told AFP that those killed had gunshot wounds.

According to RFI’s contacts on the ground, the black Boko Haram flag was on display during the demonstration, and a French flag was burned.

On Saturday, AFP reported protestors armed with iron bars in several parts of the city.

The French Embassy has warned all French citizens to stay indoors after several business linked to France were ransacked.

RFI spoke with Stephane Jullien, President of the Union of French Citizens abroad.

"...up to now we’ve never faced any aggression…obviously the issue is small radical groups which can appear. They’re obviously displaying anti-French sentiment following the publication of Charlie Hebdo" he said.

Public protests were held across the Muslim world on Friday; in Jordan, 2,500 protestors in the capital of Amman held banners that read “insulting the prophet is global terrorism”.

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in Jerusalem; some held banners reading “Islam is a religion of peace!”

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

Reactions also came from Muslim governments; Qatar called the drawing “offensive” while Bahrain’s foreign ministry said that such publications will only act to spread terrorism.

Both governments sent representatives to last week’s march in Paris in support of free speech.

Mauritania’s president, in an address to local protestos, called the cartoon an “attack on our religion and all religions”.

On Saturday, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani publically condemned the drawing and calling it an “insult” to Islam.

An Afghan presidential spokesperson called the decision to publish the cartoon “irresponsible”.

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