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Muhammad Caricature Watch: Pakistan Police Gas Students Protesting Caricatures

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Pakistani students try to escape teargas fired by police to disperse the crowd who gathered to protest against the publication of cartoons depicting Islamic prophet Muhammad, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Feb 13, 2006.

ASSociated Press: Police Gas Students Protesting Cartoons

Police fired tear gas and wielded batons Monday to stop about 7,000 students protesting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad from marching on the governor’s residence in northwestern Pakistan.

The students had marched to several universities in Peshawar and hurled stones at a Christian school, breaking windows and causing other damage. They also threw stones at shops in the main business district, chanting “Down with America” and “Down with Denmark.”

So, who set up these demonstrations? Al Qaeda?

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but an Associated Press reporter saw students carrying away a classmate with an injured leg.

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf told journalists in the capital, Islamabad, on Monday that newspapers that have printed the caricatures were “being totally oblivious to the consequences for the world, for world peace and harmony.”

“The most moderate Muslim will go to the street and talk against it because this hurts the sentiments of every Muslim,” he said. “Whether an extremist or a moderate or an ultramoderate, we will condemn it.”

President Musharraf has it wrong about freedom of speech and expression.

However, he has it right to maintain law and order over foolish demonstrations – really about nothing.

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