NIAMEY - Thousands demonstrated across the world Friday and violent clashes erupted in Niger and Pakistan as Muslims vented fury over a new Prophet Mohammed cartoon published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Four people were killed and 45 injured in protests in Niger's second city of Zinder that turned violent with demonstrators ransacking three churches and torching the French cultural centre.
A doctor in the city's hospital told AFP that all of the dead and three of the injured had gunshot wounds.
"We've never seen that in living memory in Zinder," a local administration official said. "It's a black Friday." There was also bloodshed in Karachi, Pakistan, where three people were injured when protesters clashed with police outside the French consulate, officials said.
Among them was an AFP photographer, who was shot in the back.
As Muslims raged, with protesters in Dakar and Mauritania torching French flags, Qatar and Bahrain warned that the new Prophet Mohammed cartoon published Wednesday by the French satirical weekly could fuel hatred.
On the Muslim weekly day of prayers, thousands flooded the streets of Bamako, in response to calls by leading clerics and Mali's main Islamic body, chanting "Hands off my prophet" and "I am Muslim and I love my prophet".
In Amman, around 2,500 protesters set off from Al-Husseini mosque under tight security, holding banners that read "insulting the prophet is global terrorism." In Algiers, 2,000-3,000 marchers chanted "We are all Mohammed," though some shouted their support for the Islamist Kouachi brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre and clashed with police.
The latest issue of Charlie Hebdo features a cartoon of Mohammed on its cover holding a "Je Suis Charlie" (I am Charlie) sign under the headline "All is forgiven." It was the first edition since brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi gunned down 12 people in an attack on the magazine's Paris offices on January 7 over such cartoons.
The image has angered many Muslims as depictions of Mohammed are widely considered forbidden in Islam.
Algerian protesters chanted: "Kouachi martyrs" or "I am Kouachi" as the demonstration wound its way to the National Assembly, and some clashed with riot police deployed around the building.
French flags torched
AFP photographer Asif Hassan, a policeman and a local TV cameraman were injured in Karachi when clashes also broke out between police and protesters.
A police official said the violence began when police prevented some 350 protesters from approaching the French consulate, in the sprawling metropolis.
Elsewhere in Pakistan, protesters in Peshawar and Multan burnt French flags on the streets, while rallies were also held in Islamabad and Lahore.
In the capital of Senegal, police fired tear gas grenades to disperse about 1,000 protesters who chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) and torched a French flag.
In Nouakchott, thousands marched chanting "We are here to defend the prophet". Some set fire to a French flag after security forces prevented them from reaching France's embassy, witnesses said.
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz addressed the marchers, condemning the controversial cartoon as "an attack on our religion and on all religions".
In Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated quietly, some with banners reading "Islam is a religion of peace!"