Pakistan Rioters Burn KFC, Pizza Hut, and McDonald’s

In further violence ostensibly reacting to cartoons of Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper, thousands of Pakistan rioters burned down a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise and vandalized numerous other Western businesses ranging from Holiday Inn to McDonald’s. At least two people were killed and several others injured.

Thousands of protesters rampaged through two cities Tuesday, storming into a diplomatic district and torching Western businesses and a provincial assembly in Pakistan’s worst violence against the Prophet Muhammad drawings, officials said. At least two people were killed and 11 injured. Security forces fired into the air as they struggled to contain the unrest in the eastern city of Lahore, where protesters burned down four buildings housing a hotel, two banks, a KFC restaurant and the office of a Norwegian cell phone company, Telenor.

U.S. and British embassy staffers were confined to their compounds until police dispersed the protesters, some of whom chanted, “Death to America!”

Witnesses said rioters also damaged more than 200 cars, dozens of shops and a large portrait of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Vandals broke the windows of a Holiday Inn, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s. Two movie theaters were torched, and clouds of tear gas and black smoke from burning vehicles outside Citibank and Metropolitan Bank branches drifted through streets in the city center.

A security guard shot and killed two protesters trying to force their way into a bank, Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said, adding that paramilitary forces were deployed to restore order. Mohammed Tariq, a doctor at the state-run Mayo Hospital, said three people were being treated for serious bullet wounds, and eight more suffered injuries during clashes with police.

The protest was organized by a little-known religious group supported by local trade associations and one of the main Islamic schools in the city. Intelligence officials, however, suspected that members of outlawed Islamic radical groups may have incited the violence.

A Pakistani protester burns items during a rally in Lahore February 14, 2006. Police fired tear gas to drive out students who stormed into the heavily guarded diplomatic enclave in Islamabad on Tuesday as violent protests erupted in Pakistan against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. In the eastern city of Lahore, police fired tear gas, shot into the air and baton-charged protesters who ransacked a McDonald's franchise and set fire to outlets nearby of KFC and Norwegian mobile phone firm Telenor, witnesses said. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed
Muslims protest against the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper, in Calcutta, India Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006. Thousands of angry Muslims have demonstrated in cities across India this week criticizing the publication of the cartoons. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
A Pakistani cyclist walks past a burning KFC restaurant set on fire by an angry mob during a protest in Lahore. Two protestors were shot dead in Pakistan in one of the worst incidents since Muslim anger over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed erupted, as European leaders sought to defuse the crisis(AFP/Arif Ali)
An Indian Muslim protester shouts slogans during a rally in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata February 14, 2006. Thousands of Muslims protested against cartoons published in European newspapers of the Prophet Mohammad. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal
Protesters wreck KFC property before setting fire to the building during a rally in Lahore February 14, 2006. Police used tear gas to drive out students who stormed into Islamabad's diplomatic enclave on Tuesday and protesters attacked Western businesses in Pakistan's most violent reaction yet to cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed
Update: NYT has more details.

Two Pakistanis were shot dead today and dozens injured as Pakistan witnessed its worst day of protests against the cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad with violence flared in two cities.

[…]

Demonstrations have continued in Pakistan for weeks over the cartoons, first published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Postern last year, that angered Muslims around the world. Pakistan has a history of violent protests against any act of blasphemy, but until today the rallies here were relatively peaceful.

[…]

Two people were shot dead by the security guards of a bank in Lahore. “Bank authorities allege that the protesters were trying to force their way into the bank,” Mr. Ilahi said.

While the cartoons have appeared in European newspapers, demonstrators here vented their anger over the United States as well, for its perceived anti-Muslim polices. Geo, a private television channel, showed the footage of a group of protesters chanting “Bush Dog” and “Down with Bush” before proceeding to smash vehicles and stores.

Protesters across Pakistan have demanded that the government sever its ties to the countries where cartoons have appeared and to expel the ambassadors of Denmark and Norway. And once again they have criticized President Musharraf’s decision to support the United States in its war on terror. Islamist parties have called for a nationwide strike on March 3.

Lovely.

Update 2: Cam Edwards wonders why this story is getting so much less play than Vice President Cheney’s hunting mishap.

Michelle Malkin has more photos and press roundups.

Gateway Pundit notes an escalation of the cartoon-vs-cartoon battle to Germany and Iran.

________

See the twelve cartoons that sparked the protests in full size at my Danish Muslim Cartoons page.

Related stories below the fold.

Previously:

Cartoons as Emotional Torture and Intellectual Terrorism

    • (Leopold Stotch)

Moderate Muslims Speak Out

    • (Leopold Stotch)

Danish Muslim Cartoons: Blogger Hypocrisy?
Egypt Published Danish Cartoons During Ramadan
Danish Cartoons & Abu Ghraib Photos

    • (Leopold Stotch)

Hypocrites?

    • (Steve Verdon)

Danish Muslim Cartoons: What Would Mohammad Do?
Iranian Paper Launches Holocaust Cartoon Competition
Danish Muslim Cartoon Protests Kill Six
Dutch Muslim Cartoon: Anne Frank and Hitler in Bed
Danish Muslim Cartoon Controversy in Context
Danish Embassy in Syria Torched over Muslim Cartoons
Danish Muslim Cartoons ‘Offensive,’ Says U.S. Government
Muslim Day of Anger to Respond to Cartoons
French Editor Fired Over Muhammad Drawings
French and German Papers Republish Danish Cartoons
Danish Newspaper Apologizes for Muslim Cartoons

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Christopher says:

    “Can I have some fried fries with that?”

    “Hey! You burnt the chicken in my order!”

  2. LJD says:

    Coming soon:

    Kandahar Fried Cous Cous

    Falafel Hut

    McHommads

  3. Eneils Bailey says:

    The protest was organized by a little-known religious group supported by local trade associations and one of the main Islamic schools in the city.

    I love to see these little moohamheads out learning a trade, don’t you. Think I spotted a future fireman, appliance repair man, liberal politician, White House reporter, and ACLU lawyer. And besides that, they are a bunch of chauvinist pigs, where are all the young muslim squeezettes?

  4. Mark says:

    The dude in the second to last photograph needs serious dental attention.

  5. Herb says:

    Somehow, this reminds me of a previous period of time of burning, looting and general civil disobedience.