Islamabad Telegraph Report
ISLAMABAD: Tens of thousands of hardliner Islamist took to roads and streets in Garrison city of Rawalpindi to protest the rising wave of Islamophobia in the European nation.
The protesters called upon the government of Imran Khan to immediately expel Ambassador of France to Pakistan.
Thousands of protesters including workers of Tehreek Labaik Pakistan, rallied in the garrison city of Rawalpindi and marched towards Islamabad. Bloody clashes erupted as the police intercepted the marchers in a bid to stop their advancement towards Islamabad, Pakistan’s federal capital.
Protesters vehemently denounced French President Emmanuel Macron’s anti-Islam remarks and the insulting caricatures of Prophet Muhammad being publicized in France and asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to immediately expel French Ambassador to Pakistan.
“We will not go back until government expel the French Ambassador,” religious leaders leading the protesters said.
Thousands of protesters determined throughout the day despite cold weather and thunderstorm.
The protesters consisting mostly young and educated carried banners and placards with messages such as “Down with Charlie Hebdo,” “Down with France,” and “Sacrilege of Prophet Muhammed is unacceptable” as they marched towards the French consulate in Karachi’s upscale Clifton town.
Last month, French President Macron has attacked Islam and the Muslim community, accusing Muslims in France of “separatism” and describing Islam as “a religion in crisis all over the world.”
Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine infamous for printing anti-Islamic caricatures, republished cartoons insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad earlier this year.
A number of policemen got injured as the protesters clashed with police. A dozen of policemen were rushed to hospital and were under treatment until filing of this report.
Last week, hundreds of protesters rallied in the Pakistani port city of Karachi on Saturday against France’s position on publishing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Activists from the far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party and Karachi residents took to the streets, calling for the Pakistani government to cut diplomatic and trade ties with France. Previously, the French government defended the right to free speech, including publishing the controversial images, DW reported.
Demonstrators trampled on images of French President Emmanuel Macron, burned French flags and held up banners with slogans expressing their willingness to avenge what they consider to be blasphemy.
“We demand the government take steps to boycott France and expel its ambassador from the country,” Zubair Kasuri, a spokesperson for the TLP, told dpa news agency.