30 dead, 150 injured in violent Afghan protests
KABUL(PAN): As many as 30 people have been killed and more than 150 others wounded since violent protest demonstrations erupted in different parts of Afghanistan against the Quran burning by a Christian extremist preacher.
Besides Afghanistan, angry protest demonstrations were carried out in other Islamic countries as well after the Florida church pastor torched the holy book on March 20.
Two policemen were killed and more than 30 people wounded in the southern city of Kandahar on Sunday, the third day of violent protests across the country.
Violence at earlier demonstrations claimed more than 20 lives. Ten people were killed and more than 80 wounded in Kandahar on Saturday. Seven foreign UN staff and five Afghan protesters were killed on Friday after demonstrators overran an office in normally peaceful Mazar-i-Sharif city in the north.
On Sunday, hundreds of people had marched through Kandahar, toward another UN office, on the second day of protests in the city after US preacher Terry Jones had supervised the burning of a copy of the Koran in front of about 50 people at a church in Florida on March 20.
Another 14 people, including two children, were wounded when protesters seized a gas canister taken from a shop and set it on fire, causing an explosion, Zalmay Ayoubi, the spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor said.
There were also peaceful demonstrations in Kabul, western Herat city, Jalalabad city in the east and northern Tahar province, and it initially appeared that Sunday's march in Kandahar would also finish without incident.
Afghan and foreign officials said insurgent infiltrators had sparked the killings, although a Taliban spokesman said they were driven by spontaneous emotion.
President Hamid Karzai called on Congress to condemn the burning of the Koran and prevent it from happening again.
Karzai made the request at a meeting with U.S. ambassador Karl Eikenberry and General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the presidential palace said in a statement.
"The American Congress and Senate must condemn this in clear words, show their stance, and prevent such incidents from happening again," the statement said.
Eikenberry read to Karzai from U.S. President Barack Obama's earlier condemnation of the Koran burning, the statement said.
Obama denounced the act of burning a Koran but did not mention Jones by name.
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