KARACHI: At least 19 people were killed and over 100 injured as protests against the anti-Islam film turned violent in several cities across Pakistan on the day Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool was being observed.
In the federal capital, clashes between police and protesters were witnessed in several areas. Some protesters managed to enter red zone and but were met with resistance from the police who use tear gas shelling to deter them from proceeding towards the diplomatic enclave.
At least 69 people were injured during the clashes according to hospital sources.
Later in the evening, protesters the MNA hostel and also set fire to a telephone exchange.
Security had been heightened ahead of the protests and a large contingent of police and Rangers had been deployed across the city. The army was also on alert.
Earlier on Friday, demonstrators from the suburban areas surrounding the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi occupied the streets in Pir Wadhai area and blocked the road for traffic.
In the metropolis, protests gained momentum following Friday prayers. Angry protesters set fire to five cinemas. Several shops, banks, vehicles and police vans were also set ablaze across the city.
12 deaths were reported and over 100 injured were rushed to hospitals across the city and unfortunately incidents of violence were also reported at the Civil and Jinnah hospitals.
Protests took a criminal turn in the city towards the evening as reports of looting were also reported in several areas.
The day began with violent protests in Peshawar. Angry demonstrators set fire to two cinemas and also ransacked the Chamber of Commerce. Seven deaths including that of an employee of a local TV channel were reported.
Protesters were also seen carrying weapons during numerous rallies in the city.
Protesters also took to the streets in the provincial capital of the Punjab.
Police and protesters clashed in several areas and police used tear gas shelling and aerial firing to disperse participants of a protest near the US consulate.
Protesters pelted cars with stones and destroyed a CNG station in the city. Police vans and check posts were also set ablaze by protesters.