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Asia-Pacific

Protests against social network sites in Pakistan

media Protesters of an online competition to draw pictures of Prophet Mohammad … Reuters

Pakistani protesters shouted "Death to Facebook", "Death to America" and burnt US flags on Friday, venting anger over "sacrilegious" caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on the Internet.

Religious parties mobilised hundreds of protesters onto the streets of Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city, to demand a ban on Facebook and an apology from the social networking site for humiliating Muslims.

Similar demonstrations happened in the cities of Multan and Peshawar.

But the controversy has yet to incite a mass outpouring onto the streets in Pakistan, where there are an estimated 2.5 million Facebook users.

A Facebook page for "Everyone Draw Mohammed Day," inviting users to upload images of the prophet to promote "freedom of speech," sparked a major backlash and led the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to block the country's access to Facebook last Wednesday.

The PTA blocked YouTube access the next day when it learnt that images from the Facebook site were being uploaded there as well. The Authority has also restricted access to Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia, in view of what it called "growing sacrilegious content".

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