2 killed as protests over cartoons in Pakistan turn violent. By Sheraz Khurram Khan
15 Feb 2006
LAHORE: Responding to the strike call by the religious parties against publication of sacrilegious cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad the protests turned violent as a portion of Punjab assembly
reportedly caught fire after protesters hurled firecrackers on the assembly's building. Two protesters were killed when fire was opened at them. Over 100 people were injured during the protests however; none of them sustained critical injuries.
Some 2000 people staged a sit-in near provincial assembly Punjab.
The crowds hurled stones at buildings as they rampaged through the roads of the city. The charged demonstrators also set to fire a foreign restaurant. Venting their fury over the controversial publication mob set ablaze a number of vehicles and motorcycles.
Over 400 business enterprises observed the strike absolutely.
Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao said the men died when guards at the Metropolitan bank in Lahore opened fire. "It is a serious development. We are grieved over the loss of
precious life," he told private GEO television.
Meanwhile, police teargassed about 400 students who stormed diplomatic enclave that houses embassies of many European countries.
The demonstrators reportedly set vehicles alight and ransacked western enterprises in the capital including McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut, and the Norwegian mobile phone firm Telenor. Police baton charged and used tear gas to disperse the crowds.The mob also flung stones at a Holiday Inn hotel and Western-owned filling stations.
Protesters chanted slogans ""Death to Denmark" and "Expel European ambassadors." They also shouted full-throated slogans against the US, the UK "Death to Britain" and Death to America " while pelting the British embassy in Pakistan with stones.