Gunfire and rioting erupted Wednesday as tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Pakistan’s third straight day of violent protests over the Prophet Muhammad cartoons. Three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy.
The European Union condemned both the cartoons, first printed in a Danish newspaper in September, and what it called “systematic incitement to violence” against European diplomatic missions by some unidentified governments.
Pakistani intelligence officials have said members of outlawed Islamic militant groups have joined the protests, and may be inciting violence to undermine the government of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
Rioting also broke out Wednesday near the South Waziristan tribal region, where security officials have said foreign fighters linked to al-Qaida are hiding.
A senior police official said they were investigating whether the rioting was planned. He said the main spark for the violence in the northwestern city of Peshawar appeared to be riots Tuesday in Lahore, where two people were killed.