Travel warning extended over cartoon protests

13th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 13, 2006 (AFP) - A French foreign ministry travel warning issued following the outbreak of Muslim protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed has been extended to cover nine countries in the Middle East and Asia.

PARIS, Feb 13, 2006 (AFP) - A French foreign ministry travel warning issued following the outbreak of Muslim protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed has been extended to cover nine countries in the Middle East and Asia.

French nationals are advised to be "extremely vigilant" if travelling to Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, according to an advice bulletin on the foreign ministry website updated over the weekend.

Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories were already covered by the warning, which advises against all travel to Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, both the scene of recent protests targeting European nations.

French nationals are advised to avoid large gatherings in Lebanon and Turkey, and to exercise extreme caution in the Palestinian territories, where armed groups have issued threats against French and other European nationals.

Protests over a set of newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, printed in Denmark and reproduced in France and other European countries, spiralled out of control last week as violent demonstrations swept the Muslim world.

The cartoons — one of which shows the prophet as a terrorist with a bomb in his turban — are seen as blasphemous and insulting by Muslims, but several European papers have insisted on their publication as a statement of Western attachment to free speech.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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