Driver dies after anti-film protests

A driver for a Pakistani TV reporter has been reported killed when police fired to disperse protesters against an anti-Islam film who were torching a cinema in the north-west city of Peshawar.

Kashif Mahmood says he was sitting with the driver, Mohammad Amir, in their vehicle covering the protest when police opened fire today.

He said three bullets hit the vehicle, including one that critically wounded Amir. He later died at a hospital.

TV showed footage of Amir at the hospital as doctors tried to save him. It also showed the windshield of the vehicle shattered by several gunshots.

The Pakistan government has declared today a national holiday and has encouraged people to peacefully protest against the film produced in the United States.

The Innocence of Muslims film, which denigrates the Prophet Mohammed, has sparked violent protests throughout the Muslim world that have left at least 30 people dead, including two in Pakistan.

The government has blocked mobile phone services in major cities to prevent militants from using phones to detonate bombs during a national day of protest against the film.

The service is blocked in at least 15 cities, including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. The service is scheduled to be resumed later.

Meanwhile the US has closed its diplomatic missions across Indonesia due to continuing demonstrations over the film.

Small and mostly orderly protests were held today outside the US Embassy in Jakarta and in the cities of Surabaya and Medan along with a couple other smaller towns. No violence was reported.

The US Embassy in Jakarta and consulate offices in Surabaya, Medan and Bali were closed. The US Mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also was shut.

Large protests often follow Friday prayers in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

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