ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Protestors turned out in the tens of thousands for what’s being called the “Day of Love.” But don’t let the namesake fool you. The latest protest against the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims has descended into violence with at least 15 dead and over one hundred injured.
Police in Karachi and Peshawar attempted to subdue the violence Friday, firing tear gas an live ammunition at the rioters, who were throwing rocks and setting fire to buildings. The “Day of Love” was declared a national holiday by the government so that demonstrators could protest the film, reports NBC News.
Mohammad Amir, a driver for a Pakistani television station, was the first to die in Peshawar. Pakistani police could not immediately be reached for comment about the death of Amir.
Roughly 15,000 protestors in Karachi burned two theaters and a bank, and a group of armed demonstrators among them fired on police, killing one and wounding another, according to Officer Ahmad Hassan.
The “Day of Love” protests are merely the latest in a string of violent anti-US demonstrations in the Middle East, sparked by an anti-Islamic film that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad. Prior to Friday’s report, up to 30 have died as a result of the demonstrations, including the US ambassador to Libya.
Unfortunately, violence continues to escalate based in part on a massive misunderstanding of US culture. Protestors, including those at the “Day of Love” demonstrations, have directed their anger at the US government thinking that they are responsible for the anti-Islamic film, even though it was privately produced and universally damned for its portrayal of Muslims by US government figures.