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Afghan stone throwing erupts over Koran burning

04 april 2011, 14:04
Stone throwers scuffled with police on Monday as more than 1,000 Afghans took to the streets for a fourth day to denounce the burning of a Koran by an American pastor, AFP reports citing witnesses.

Mohammad Aziz Gharanai, the police chief of Laghman province east of the Afghan capital Kabul told AFP that officers had not opened fire with guns.

"There are demonstrations. People threw stones at police but our police have not fired," he said, adding that no one had been injured.

One witness told AFP by telephone that police responded by lobbing the stones back. Several gunshots were heard in the background as he spoke.

Witnesses told AFP that there were more than 1,000 people, almost all men, protesting in Mehterlam, the provincial capital of Laghman.

"I saw some people who threw stones at the police. Police threw them back and one person was injured by a stone," said a witness from the crowd.

They shouted "death to America -- long live Islam," another witness said.

"There are demonstrations. It started from Alingar district and now they're in the city," Gulzar Sangarwal, deputy head of the Laghman provincial council, an elected body, told AFP from Mehterlam.

"It's against the burning of the Koran by an American pastor. We strongly condemn this act," he said.

Angry protests in Afghanistan against the burning of a Koran by Florida pastor Terry Jones began in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Friday and have spread in all major cities.

The violence has killed at least 22, including seven foreign UN staff, and wounded nearly 140 other people.

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