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Sudanese police prevent anti-Charlie Hebdo protest from reaching French embassy

January 16, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese police prevented protesters on Friday from reaching the French embassy and French cultural center in the capital, Khartoum.

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Protesters shout slogans against France and call for an apology while carrying banners during a demonstration against satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo after Friday prayers in Khartoum on 16 January 2015. The banner reads: "Not for the Prophet Mohammad. Death for French. Charlie Hebdo offends the Prophet" (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Hundreds of worshipers staged demonstrations in Khartoum after Friday prayers to protest the latest issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which features cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

The French weekly was targeted by extremist militants last week in a shooting rampage that left 12 people dead.

The magazine’s first issue after the attack, released on Wednesday, featured a caricature of prophet Mohamed on the cover, an act considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

In anticipation of protesters, the police blocked off major roads leading to the French embassy and French cultural center from early Friday morning after religious groups called for demonstrations against the cartoons.

The protest, which was part of a larger series of global demonstrations, sought to reach the French embassy in Khartoum to submit a memo to the French ambassador to protest against republishing of the cartoons.

They held signs saying “Death to Charlie Hebdo” and “We demand an apology from France”, even calling on the Sudanese government to expel the French ambassador.

In 2012, thousands of people mobilised by radical Islamists demonstrated outside Western diplomatic missions in Khartoum, including the German, British and US. embassies against the Innocence of Muslims, a US-made film considered anti-Islam.

Meanwhile, Khartoum state’s ministry of education has directed all schools to devote a class next Monday to glorify prophet Mohamed against the abusive cartoons.

Education minister Abdel-Mahmoud al-Nour said in press statements on Friday they directed all schools in the state of Khartoum to “glorify our holy prophet by recalling his exploits and biography”.

He demanded all schools principals to personally supervise Monday’s class, saying “the directive also included holding cultural programs and activities to advocate for our holy prophet”.