September 17, 2012 / 2:12 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 4-Pakistan police break up protest over anti-Islam film

KARACHI, Pakistan, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Pakistani police fired in the air to disperse a crowd headed towards the U.S. consulate in the city of Karachi on Monday to protest against a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad.

A senior police official said 30 students had been arrested at the demonstration, organised by a religious party.

Demonstrations have spread in the Muslim world over the video, posted on the Internet under several titles including “Innocence of Muslims”.

Protests erupted in several Pakistani cities over the weekend.

In Monday’s demonstration in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial hub, protesters on motorcycles and in cars headed towards the U.S. consulate, prompting police to shoot in the air and fire teargas.

Protesters threw rocks at the police and damaged one of their vehicles. Around 100 people roamed roads and alleys near the sprawling consulate.

In the city of Lahore, protesters threw rocks at police and burned an American flag near the U.S. consulate. Police official Rai Tahir said six policemen and some protesters were hurt.

“We used tear gas and a baton charge,” said Tahir. “We managed to push them back.”

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad said it had suspended public services due to the potential for demonstrations near the compound.

Pakistan’s U.S.-backed government faces a Taliban insurgency supported by al Qaeda and other militant groups.

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