US News New demonstrations against France in Bangladesh
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Major demonstrations took place in Bangladesh against France on Friday, burning effigies of its president Emmanuel Macron to denounce his support for the freedom to caricature.
The main demonstration took place in Dhaka, the second in size in five days protesting against France in the Bangladeshi capital. Police counted 12,000 participants, independent observers and organizers reported more than 40,000. Smaller gatherings were held outside hundreds of mosques in the city.
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"We are all the soldiers of the prophet Mohammed, "chanted the demonstrators who began to march out of the weekly Friday prayer at the Baitul Mukarram mosque in the capital, the largest in the country.
They have renewed their calls to boycott French products and to "punish" Mr. Macron, already launched Monday during a demonstration which brought together more than 40,000 people in Dhaka and after which security was reinforced around the French embassy.
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- Flags burned -
Protesters burned French flags and an effigy of Mr. Macron.
"France insults two billion Muslims in the world. President Macron must apologize for his crimes," said Gazi Ataur Rahman, a senior official of Islami Andolan Bangladesh (IAB), one of the main parties Bangladeshi Islamists who called for a demonstration.
They protest against the support given by Mr. Macron for the freedom to caricature on the occasion of a tribute to a French teacher assassinated on October 16 during an Islamist attack for showing in class caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a free speech class.
These parties also criticize statements by Mr. Macron estimating at the beginning of October that Islam is "in crisis".
Thursday, after an attack on a Catholic church in Nice (South of France) which left three dead, Mr. Macron denounced "an Islamist terrorist attack" and hammered: "we will not give up" on the values that make the France, in particular "the freedom to believe and not to believe".
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Other parades took place in Bangladesh, a country of more than 160 million mainly Muslim inhabitants, notably in the port city of Chittagong where a portrait of Mr. Macron was set on fire by demonstrators numbering around 4,000 according to the police.
The declarations of Mr. Macron on the freedom to caricature have caused great tensions in several Muslim countries, ranging from demonstrations to the boycott of French products.
The Muslim minority in India, a country whose Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has supported Mr. Macron, has also called for a boycott of French goods.
Several hundred people demonstrated in the city of Bhopal (central India) while in Srinagar, the main city of the troubled region of Indian Kashmir, about 25 people defied the ban on demonstrating to lay on the ground in the street of Mr. Macron's photos and walk on them before dispersing. The Muslim minority represents around 200 million people out of a population of 1.3 billion in India.
sa-sam / tw / lch / mc
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