Hundreds of people in eastern Afghanistan demonstrated on Monday against the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, burning a French flag and calling for the government to cut diplomatic relations with France.
The demonstrators in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, chanted anti-France slogans and vowed to defend Islam after the magazine featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on the cover of its first issue following the deadly attack on its Paris office by two jihadist brothers.
“I call on the Afghan government and other Islamic countries to cut off their diplomatic ties with France,” said Matiullah Ahmadzai, 25, one of the demonstrators.
“We want the French Embassy in Kabul closed. France should apologise to Muslim countries,” he said.
Another protester Noor Ahmad Noorani said they had taken to the streets “to defend the holy religion of Islam”.
The protesters also carried placards reading “I love you Mohammad” and “We won’t keep silent”.
A few hundred people demonstrated last week in the central Afghan province of Uruzgan, praising the gunmen and criticising President Ashraf Ghani’s condemnation of the attack.
On January 7th, two gunmen with ties to jihadist groups in Yemen and Syria attacked Charlie Hebdo’s office, killing 12 people, including the editor of the magazine. The attackers were shot dead by police after a three-day manhunt.
The satirical magazine had enraged many Muslims around the world with its repeated publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed.
In neighbouring Pakistan, protests against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were held across the country on Sunday as thousands of people in almost all major cities chanted slogans against its printing of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
The Afghan Taliban last week also condemned the publication of the cartoons, and praised the two brothers who were behind the deadly attack.