TENS of thousands joined protests around the world following Emmanuel Macron’s controversial comments over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.
More than 50,000 Muslims took part in the biggest demonstration yet on the streets of Bangladesh with some burning effigies of the under-fire French leader.
However, today’s massive rally was stopped from getting close to the French embassy where security had been stepped up amid mounting tensions.
The march was more than a mile long and crowds carried multiple effigies of Macron, caricatures and a fake coffin for the French leader.
Meanwhile in Jakarta, more than 2,000 Indonesians wearing white Islamic robes gathered in front of the French embassy to express their outrage.
They chanted “No defamation of the Prophet Mohammed” and vented their anger about Macron – who has supported the right of cartoonists to draw Mohammed.
The French president has repeatedly voiced his support for free expression following the murder of history teacher Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb late last month.
Paty was attacked and beheaded after using cartoons from satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to teach his students about the importance of free speech.
The magazine was the target of a 2015 Islamist attack in which 12 people were killed after it printed cartoons depicting Mohammed – which is forbidden in some sects of Islam.
Today, the middle school where Paty taught at Conflans-Saint-Honorine reopened for teachers only after being given the green light by Macron’s government.
In the wake of the atrocity, and another bloody attack outside Notre Dame church in Nice, France’s Interior Minister said the country was “at war against an enemy within.
Speaking to French radio station RTL Gérald Darmanin said: “We need to understand that there have been and there will be other events such as these terrible attacks.”
In Bangladesh, protesters chillingly chanted “We are all soldiers of the prophet”, “We are not afraid of bullets or bombs” and “Macron, you are in danger.”
Police put up a barbed wire barricade across a major road to stop the demonstrators getting close to Dhaka’s embassy district.
Thousands also demonstrated Monday outside the French embassy in Jakarta – the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation.
Protesters burned pictures of Macron and waved placards emblazoned with a shoeprint on his face and others depicting the French leader with devil horns.
Monday’s rally in Bangladesh was called by Hefazat-i-Islami, one of the biggest radical Muslim political groups in the country of 168 million people.
Organisers said police had prevented thousands of others from joining the rally by stopping buses, trucks, and cars from entering the capital.
Junaid Babunagari, the firebrand deputy chief of Hezafat, called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to make the Bangladesh parliament condemn Macron.
“I call on traders to throw away French products. I ask the UN to take stern action against France,” he told the rally.
Bangladesh’s government has so far not commented on France or the protests.
Other Hefazat leaders said Macron must apologise to Muslims around the world.
The South Asian country has seen other giant rallies after the publication of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed by Danish newspapers.
Moment ‘husband beats his wife to death in the street’ as onlookers do nothing
Islamist groups in Bangladesh, including Hezafat, have demanded blasphemy laws in the country that would allow for the death sentence in serious cases.
A 2013 rally in Dhaka by thousands of Hefazat supporters demanding a blasphemy law ended in unrest in which more than 50 people were killed.
Between 2013 and 2016, nearly a dozen secular activists and bloggers were killed by Islamist extremists in Bangladesh after they were accused of defaming Islam.