Pakistan Blocks Cell Phone Services as Anti-US Protests Erupt
Pakistan has blocked mobile phone service in major cities across the country as massive protests against the “Innocence of Muslims” video spread. The video that is said to insult the Prophet Muhammad and was produced in the United States.
Pakistani telecoms officials say cellular service outage will affect 15 cities, including the capital, Islamabad.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had earlier today called for peaceful protests. He also told a conference of religious leaders and politicians in Islamabad that Pakistan is demanding the United Nations and other international organizations ban “such hate speech, equal to the worst kind of anti-Semitism or other kinds of bigotry.”
Asmall group of protesters threw their shoes at posters denouncing the United States, Britain, Israel, and Salman Rushdie in front of the Punjab Provincial Assembly in Lahore.
Demonstrations are expected to grow after prayers. Western embassies remain on high alert across the Muslim world.
The U.S. embassy in Pakistan is airing a public service advertisement on Pakistani television networks featuring President Barack Obama and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton denouncing the video that has sparked protests across the Muslim world.
France has banned two anti-U.S. protests planned for Saturday. It is also closing its embassies, consulates, cultural centers and schools in 20 countries Friday as a precautionary measure.