KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan police fired tear gas and water cannon at about 200 protesters outside the French consulate in the southern port city of Karachi on Friday when a demonstration against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo turned violent.
It was the first time people’s anger over the cartoons lampooning Islam’s Prophet Mohammad spilled into violence in deeply conservative Pakistan.
Last week, 17 people were killed in France in three days of violence that began with a shooting attack on Charlie Hebdo, known for its satirical attacks on Islam and other religions.
Charlie Hebdo’s first edition since the attack, published on Wednesday, featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad on a cover that defenders praised as art but critics saw as a new provocation.
In Karachi, mostly students gathered outside the consulate on Friday afternoon shouting slogans, and the standoff quickly turned violent. Police had sealed of several streets leading to the area.
A Reuters reporter aid some of the protesters appeared armed with guns and he saw them firing shots after security forces used water cannon and tear gas to stop the crowd advancing on the consulate.
A photographer with French news agency AFP was wounded the clashes, police said.
“AFP photographer Asif Hasan suffered wounds resulting from gunshots fired by ... protesters, police have not opened fire,” Abdul Khalique Shaikh, a senior police officer in southern Karachi, told Reuters.
At least three people were wounded and taken to hospital, one in critical condition, a Karachi doctor said.
Reporting by Akhtar Soomro and Syed Raza Hassan; Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Jeremy Laurence