4 Dead as Koran Protests Rage

Afghan protesters set fire to American contractors' housing compound
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2012 7:08 AM CST
4 Dead as Koran Protests Rage
Afghan demonstrators shouts anti-US slogans during a protest against Koran desecration in Kabul on February 22, 2012.   (Getty Images)

At least four people were killed and dozens wounded today as protests over the burning of copies of the Koran at Bagram Air Force Base swept across Afghanistan. Police shot and killed two demonstrators outside of Bagram, and one each in Logar Province and Kabul, Reuters reports. In the capital, 21 people, including 11 police, were wounded, as protesters threw stones, smashed vehicles and windows, and set fire to a housing compound where American contractors live.

The US embassy tweeted that it was "on lockdown; all travel suspended. Please, everyone, be safe out there." Protesters were heard crying, "Long live Mullah Omar!" referring to the Taliban leader, and "Death to America! Death to Karzai!" The outrage wasn't limited to the streets, either; parliament passed a resolution demanding the Koran burners be punished, and several lawmakers shouted "death to America!" inside the chamber. A senior military official tells the Washington Post that the Korans had been removed from the base's prison library because they had radical messages scrawled in them. (More Afghanistan stories.)

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