Pakistan: The largest protests reported on 20 September occurred in Pakistan. Police fired tear gas and live rounds at demonstrators, many armed with wooden clubs, as they tried to reach the heavily-guarded diplomatic enclave in Islamabad where Western embassies are located, including the US, British and French missions. One newspaper estimated the crowd at 5,000.
The government called in the army to protect the area after protesters broke through a barrier of shipping containers set up by police to block a road leading to the enclave. Pakistani news outlets reported 50 people were injured, including 44 policemen. One protestor provided his explanation for the continuing protests, "Islam is often ridiculed by America and the West and blasphemy is committed against our Prophet (PBUH) in the name of freedom of expression."
Peaceful demonstrations were held in four cities, including Quetta, Karachi and Lahore. Some Christians staged a demonstration in Chaman in Baluchistan in support of the Muslims.
Germany: Germany has increased security precautions in the Middle East and ordered its personnel to avoid diplomatic facilities on 21 September.
France: In Iran, hundreds of protesters marched near the French embassy in Tehran. A large police presence prevented the mob from storming the embassy compound.
France has ordered its diplomatic missions, cultural centers and schools closed in 20 Muslim countries as a precaution against a violent backlash because of anti-Muslim caricatures published in a French magazine on Wednesday
Comment: There have been multiple demonstrations in Pakistan all week, but this was the first to turn violent in Islamabad. Most diplomatic missions in Pakistan and in other Muslim countries routinely are closed to the public on Friday. US missions will be closed on the 21st in many Middle Eastern and Asian countries as a precaution against violent protests.
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