Muslim protesters rally in Athens over anti-Islam video

ATHENS Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:41am EDT

A Muslim protester throws a shoe at policemen during a rally in central Athens September 23, 2012. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

A Muslim protester throws a shoe at policemen during a rally in central Athens September 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/John Kolesidis

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ATHENS (Reuters) - Hundreds of Muslim protesters staged a rally in central Athens on Sunday to protest against a film made in California which mocks Islam's Prophet Mohammad, the first such demonstration in Greece.

The protesters chanted "All we have is Mohammad" and held banners reading "We demand an immediate punishment for those who tried to mock our Prophet Mohammad" as they prepared to march to the U.S. embassy.

There were brief moments of tension when some demonstrators hurled bottles at police, who responded with teargas.

Police shut down a subway station and were considering blocking the march before it reached the heavily guarded embassy to prevent possible violence, police officials said. Greece is home to hundreds of thousands of Muslims.

The anti-Islam film, posted on YouTube, has provoked protests in several Muslim countries. Related violence has included the storming of U.S. and other Western embassies, the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and a suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

Many Muslims regard any depiction of the Prophet Mohammad as blasphemous, let alone one which denigrates the Prophet.

French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo stoked the furor last week when it published cartoons featuring a naked Mohammad, and on Friday France banned street protests against the drawings.

Iranian students gathered at the French embassy in Tehran on Sunday to protest against the publication of the cartoons, Iran's Fars news agency reported.

They held placards reading "The silence of Muslims is a betrayal of the Koran" and "Shi'ite brothers, Sunni brothers, unity, unity", and chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel", Fars said.

(Reporting by Yvonne Bell; Writing by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Pravin Char)

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