13 killed as Pakistan explodes in protest
Nine people were killed in Karachi, including a police officer who was shot, as demonstrations provided cover for arsonists and looters who attacked shops and restaurants.
A protester and a driver with a TV news channel were killed by police gunfire in the north-western city of Peshawar, where four people died amid attacks on cinemas and government offices.
Pakistan said it summoned the most senior US diplomat in Islamabad to protest against a YouTube trailer for an anti-Islam film made by a small group of extremists in the United States.
There were also peaceful protests in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Iraq.
The worst of the trouble came in Pakistan where the government declared Friday to be Love of the Prophet Mohammed Day and a national holiday as part of an attempt to release some of the anger building among the country’s hardline Islamic clerics.
YouTube has been blocked to prevent more people viewing trailers for Innocence of Muslims, an amateurish film that has provoked fury around the world.
Mobile phone networks were also shut down on Friday to prevent terrorists detonating bombs and shipping containers were used to barricade roads leading to diplomatic missions as the country prepared for a day of protests.
Trouble flared in Peshawar, a terrorist hotspot close to the border with Afghanistan, even before the usual flashpoint of Friday prayers.
Witnesses said a rampaging crowd stormed the Shama cinema, notorious locally for showing films considered to be pornographic, smashing windows and setting it on fire.
In Islamabad, mosques gave over their weekly sermon to messages of peace, urging congregations to protest peacefully.
Bilal Saeed left the Red Mosque to join protests gathering close to the city’s red zone – an area given over to diplomatic missions and government ministries.
“It’s upsetting to us for someone to make fun of our holy Prophet, so every Muslim is angry,” he said. “This is like a slap in the face. We have every right to make our feelings known.”