500 protest anti-Islam film, cartoon in Istanbul
ISTANBUL - Agence France-Presse
DHA PhotoHundreds of protesters in Istanbul burnt US and Israeli flags yesterday in a heated reaction against an American film and French cartoons that have sparked dearly riots across the Middle East and North Africa.
Around 500 people gathered around the Turkish city's iconic Taksim Square, chanting "Allah-u Akbar" as they burnt Western flags in a display of fury for the inflammatory depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.
The crowd unfurled banners reading "Death to America" and "Death to France" as they shouted anti-Western slogans, urging the Muslim world to react against the anti-Islamic depictions in the West.
Riot police were stationed around the square and kept the area, populated with foreign missions, under tight security until the group, which dubbed themselves "Lovers of the Prophet", left peacefully.
Police sealed off access to the French mission. France's diplomatic posts have been the target of demonstrations across the Islamic region since the publication by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo of cartoons portraying a naked Prophet Mohammed.
Last Sunday, a small group of 50 protesters gathered in front of the US embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara in a non-violent demonstration against the amateurish American-made film "Innocence of Muslims", which ridicules Mohammed.
In cities across the Muslim world protesters have vented their fury at France and the United States for what they branded an attack against their religion by targeting their embassies, schools and companies.
Last week, four US officials, including the ambassador to Libya, were killed in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.