Koran burning protests turn violent in Afghanistan

Koran burning protests turn violent in Afghanistan

Thousands of Afghans staged violent protests today against a tiny American church’s plan to burn the Muslim holy book.

The demonstraton today in Puli Alam, the capital of the eastern Logar province, turned ugly with protesters chanting “death to America” and setting shops and police checkpoints on fire.

The spokesman for the provincial governor, Din Mohammad Darwish, said police fired warning shots into the air to prevent the protesters from storming the governor’s house. He said there are no immediate reports of injuries.

Officials said at least 11 people were injured in similar protests across Afghanistan on Friday.

The Rev Terry Jones from the Dove Outreach Centre in Florida triggered outrage by announcing he would burn the Koran on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

On Thursday, he announced he would cancel the plans, but later said he is reconsidering.

Last night an associate of the pastor said Mr Jones was heading to New York aboard an evening flight.

K.A. Paul, a Christian evangelist who runs a ministry out of Houston, said he bought the ticket for Mr Jones to fly out of Orlando and land around 10.15pm local time on Friday evening in New York (Saturday Irish time).

Mr Paul said Mr Jones was able to sneak out of his Gainesville church without the media noticing.

Earlier, Mr Jones’ son, Luke, said the Koran-burning event will not take place today but could not say whether there would be a future event.

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