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French flags burned in Charlie Hebdo protests

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French flags burned in Charlie Hebdo protests
Iraqi protesters burn the French flag in Baghdad. Photo: AFP
15:19 CET+01:00
Protesters torched French flags in Iraq and Afghanistan on Thursday as thousands marched in Pakistan, all in protest against the image of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover of the latest issue of French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
After French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo printed a cover last week featuring the Prophet Muhammad in tears, reactions have spread far and wide across the world. 
 
On Thursday in Baghdad, protesters carried banners reading "We demand the French authorities apologize to all Muslims," and "No, no, France", reported the AFP news agency. 
 
The crowd, among many of whom were journalists, burned a French flag outside the French embassy.
 
Hassan Jumaa, director of Al-Nahar television, said he wanted France to issue an apology and "stop this abuse of the prophet and all religions."
   
"We reject terrorism, we are against terrorism, we fought terrorism, and our religion is a religion of tolerance," he said.
 
Meanwhile in Karachi, the biggest city in Pakistan, thousands marched in what has been dubbed as the biggest protest to Charlie Hebdo so far.
 
Protesters carried green flags printed with the prophet's mausoleum and chanted anti-Charlie Hebdo slogans as they marched.
   
"Down with Charlie Hebdo, down with the blasphemers," they shouted.
  
Many carried placards demanding blasphemers be killed.
 

Insulting the Prophet carries the death penalty under Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Photo: AFP   
 
One of the protest leaders, Sarwat Ejaz Qadri, demanded the Pakistani government cut diplomatic ties with France.
   
"Their ambassador should be declared persona non grata and must be expelled from the country," Qadri said.
 
Activists in Quetta, southern Pakistan, also marched and burned a French flag. A further 2,000 marched  in the eastern city of Lahore.
 
Protesters carried banners reading: "Let blasphemers be hanged, we will not tolerate anyone ridiculing our prophet."
   
In Afghanistan, a crowd of around 50 gathered at the French embassy in Kabul, chanting "France you are the devil".  
 
Throughout this week, rioters have blazed through Niger in Africa, leaving ten people dead and 45 churches burned. 
 
Al-Qaeda's Yemen-based branch claimed responsibility for the January 7th attack by two brothers, saying it was "in revenge for the prophet of God."
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