A Danish lawyer was shot and several Muslim demonstrators died as protests against the publication of cartoons showing the Prophet Muhammad continued around the world yesterday.
The lawyer was wounded in an incident in a Moscow cafe by a man from the Muslim Caucasus region of southern Russia.
Meanwhile, the prime minister of Chechnya announced that Danish humanitarian organisations would be expelled.
Danish troops also came under fire in southern Iraq. Shots were fired at a patrol as it helped children who had been hit by a car near Qurnah. None of the soldiers was injured.
The worst trouble yesterday came in Afghanistan, where hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police and soldiers. Four people were killed and at least 19 wounded, officials said.
The worst violence was outside Bagram, the main US base in Afghanistan, although the US has not been involved in the controversy over the publication of the cartoons. Afghan police fired on some 2,000 protesters as they tried to break into the heavily guarded facility.
Kabir Ahmed, the local government chief, said two of the demonstrators were killed and five wounded, while eight police were hurt. The protesters threw stones at the base and smashed a guard post.
Some of those in the crowd then shot at the base with assault rifles, prompting the police to return fire, he said.
In Tehran, a crowd of about 200 people pelted the Austrian embassy with fire-bombs and stones, and Palestinian demonstrators hurled stones at EU offices in Gaza and pulled down the EU flag. Protesters in four Indonesian cities demanded that Denmark apologise. Police fired warning shots to disperse 300 hardline Muslims protesting outside the Danish consulate in Indonesia’s second city, Surabaya.
In France, police evacuated offices of a newspaper which had published the cartoons after it received a bomb threat.
Lebanon apologised to Denmark for the burning of its consulate during a weekend protest, and some Lebanese politicians accused Syria of using the furore to stir sectarian tension.
The prime ministers of Turkey and Spain made a joint plea for respect and calm. But Muslims in the Gulf Arab region intensified their boycott of Danish goods.
Iran said it was cutting all trade ties with Denmark.
Danish flags, however, remain in demand. An enterprising shopkeeper in Gaza, Ahmed Abu Dayya, said he had ordered 100 Danish and Norwegian flags when he heard that the cartoons were being reprinted.
“I knew there would be a demand for the flags because of the angry reaction of people over the offence to the Prophet Muhammad,” he said.
Angry Muslims have been setting the flags ablaze or tearing them to pieces.