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French cultural centre set ablaze in Niger

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French cultural centre set ablaze in Niger
There have been many protests around the world since Charis Hebdo's post-attack issue featured Prophet Muhammad. Noah Seelam/ AFP
18:16 CET+01:00
Protesters angered by Charlie Hebdo's latest Prophet Muhammad cartoon set fire Friday to the French cultural centre in Zinder, Niger's second biggest city, the head of the centre said.

An irate crowd of around 50 people smashed the centre's entrance door andset fire to the cafeteria, library and offices in spite of warning shots by two police guards, director Kaoumi Bawa told AFP.

Three churches – one Catholic and two Protestant – were also ransacked by the protesters, authorities in the southern city of Zinder said.

“We have never seen something like this in Zinder,” an unnamed official said, “it’s a black Friday”.

Amadou Mamane, a freelance journalist working in the city, told AFP that “just after Friday prayers, a mass of people poured their anger out on the streets of Zinder to protest against the caricatures of Prophet Muhammad.”

On Friday, thousands of people living in mainly Muslim countries protested against French satirical Charlie Hebdo, whose Paris offices were attacked last week by Islamist gunmen who killed 12 people.

The magazine is known for ridiculing religious figures, including the pope and Muhammad, and its defiant post-attack issue released Wednesday again featured the prophet on its front page.

The new cover has sparked anger in parts of the Islamic world, with protests staged from the Philippines and Turkey to Kuwait and Mauritania.

Many Muslims find any depiction of the prophet highly offensive, let alone images satirising him.

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