At least 5,000 people rallied in Karachi on Sunday to denounce a US-made anti-Islam film and the publication of blasphemous cartoons in France, police and witnesses said. Police beefed up security for the rally, which was organised by Ahle Sunnat wa Al-Jamaat, while paramilitary forces also deployed.
"Beheading is the only one punishment for blasphemy," read one banner. "We demand all French and US diplomatic missions shut in Pakistan," said another, as protesters shouted: "We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the honour of Prophet (PBUH)".
Senior police official Amir Lodhi said that "about 5,000 people were in the rally", adding that organisers made assurances they would not march towards the US consulate. The rally dispersed peacefully, an AFP reporter said.