Fresh protests over Qur'an burning
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Kabul - Hundreds of Afghans staged a fresh protest in the Kabul on Thursday against the burning of a Qur’an by a US pastor, dragging demonstrations into a seventh day, police and witnesses said.
“There was a peaceful protest by about 300 people in front of the Eid Gah Mosque. Thankfully there was no violence and it lasted about one hour,” Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai told AFP.
Witnesses said protesters carried banners and placards bearing slogans including “murder, murder America” and “Qur’an is our law”. The demonstration followed morning prayers.
At least 24 people, including seven UN staff, have been killed in a wave of protests against the burning of a copy of the Qur’an by a pastor in the United States last month.
The UN workers were killed in attack on their compound in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif by protesters.
So far, there have been no violent demonstrations against the Qur’an burning in Kabul, where many Americans and other foreigners working in Afghanistan are based.
US President Barack Obama and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai on Wednesday held a video conference in which they voiced regret over the violent demonstrations.
The White House said that “both leaders deplored the desecration of the Qur’an, strongly condemned the April 1 attack on (the UN compound) in Mazar-i-Sharif and expressed deep regret for the tragic loss of life”.
Karzai's office said the presidents discussed “the desecration of the Qur’an by the American pastor and the subsequent unpleasant incidents that followed in Afghanistan”.
The White House has called the Qur’an burning “un-American” and Obama has branded it an act of “extreme intolerance and bigotry.” - Sapa-AFP