Latest protests against depictions of Muhammad
Here's a look at protests and events on Monday connected to an anti-Islam film produced in the United States and vulgar caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published in a French satirical weekly. More than 50 people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed in violence linked to protests over the film, which also has renewed debate over freedom of expression in the U.S. and in Europe.
The head of Iran's government-controlled cinema agency urged the Islamic Republic to boycott the 2013 Oscars until the organizers of the Academy Awards denounce the anti-Islam film, titled "Innocence of Muslims." The agency's director, Javad Shamaghdari, previously called for Iran to "deprive" Western film festivals of movies made by his country's cinema industry. An Iranian director in February won the Oscar for best foreign film for his movie, "A Separation" — the first such prize for Iran.
A military prosecutor indicted 45 people related to attacks on policemen and a KFC restaurant during Sept. 14 protests that killed one person in the northern city of Tripoli. Judiciary officials said a third of the accused have been detained and at least some face sentences of life in prison, if convicted. They are accused of attacking policemen, damaging security vehicles and burning a restaurant.
More than 5,000 Sri Lankan Muslims marched through the nation's capital to demand the U.S. ban the anti-Islam and punish its creators. The protesters blocked traffic as they marched on a main road in Colombo, carrying signs and banners that read "USA ban the film on YouTube," '' Punishment for those involved," and "Our hearts are wounded and chests full of anger." Protesters also displayed banners that called for boycotting American brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's.
Hundreds of protesters marched peacefully through the streets of the northern city of Kaduna, leaving behind graffiti on walls reading: "Death to the Americans, death to the Israelites." It's the latest in a series of demonstrations against the film in Nigeria, which is largely split between a Christian south and a Muslim north.
The government distanced itself from an offer by one of its Cabinet ministers to pay $100,000 for anyone who kills the maker of the anti-Islam film. Pakistan's Foreign Office said the offer by Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour does not represent official government policy. Bilour belongs to the secular Awami National Party, an ally in the government of President Asif Ali Zardari. Bilour said Saturday that he would pay the bounty out of his own pocket and appealed to al-Qaida and Taliban militants to contribute to what he called the "noble cause" of eliminating the filmmaker.
Citing a lack of evidence, an appeals court acquitted three men accused of plotting to murder a Swedish artist who had depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a dog. Judges in Goteborg ruled that the three men of Iraqi and Somali origin may have been prepared to use violence against Lars Vilks in September 2011 but found no concrete proof that they planned to kill him. The men were carrying knives when they were arrested after inquiring about Vilks at an art exhibition where he had been expected to appear but did not do so.