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Tens of thousands of Muslims from Palestine to Pakistan to Bangladesh poured into the streets Friday to join anti-France protests after French President Emmanuel Macron's insulting comments.
In response to Macron's comments respecting the right to caricature the Prophet Muhammad, an estimatd 40,000 people in Bangladesh marched in the capital, Dhaka, chanting, "World Muslims Unite," "Stop Islamophobia," and "Macron is Satan."
Nearly 10,000 people marched in Pakistan's capital, Karachi, toward the French Embassy, where they were met with teargas and batons from police. Pounding an effigy of Marcon hanging over a highway overpass with shoes, the demonstrators staged a sit-in on a main road as night fell.
In Pakistan's eastern cities of Lahore and Multan, protestors similarly called for a boycott of French products and celebrated Mawlid, the birthday of Prophet Muhammed.
Protests were also held in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. A few hundred demonstrators flocked towards the Palais des Pins, the official residence of the French ambassador to Lebanon, but found their way blocked by lines of police officers in riot gear.
Female teacher at Islamic madrassah for girls in Pakistan beheads the effigy of the "blasphemer" French President @EmmanuelMacron in front of female students, many of them children. pic.twitter.com/PY5m9t2GLl
In Afghanistan, members of Hezb-i-Islami set the French flag ablaze. Its leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, warned Macron if he does not “control the situation, we are going to a third world war and Europe will be responsible."
The protests come amid rising tensions between France and Muslim-majority nations, which flared up earlier this month when Macron described Islam as a religion “in crisis” globally.
France was sent into further shock on Thursday, when a knife-wielding Tunisian man killed three people at a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice. That same day, a Saudi man stabbed and lightly wounded a security guard at the French consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Leaders of many Muslim countries offered their condolences to France after the attack and expressed their solidarity as they condemned the violence.