A television station employee was shot dead on Friday in the northwestern city of Peshawar as violent crowds filled the streets of several cities on a day of government-sanctioned protests against an anti-Islam film made in the United States.
The unrest came as governments and Western institutions in many parts of the Muslim world braced for protests after Friday Prayer an occasion often associated with demonstrations as worshipers leave mosques.
The protesters threatened to seize the American Embassy on Saturday, but a police order banned any further demonstrations.
France had already announced the closure on Friday of embassies and other institutions in 20 countries while, in Paris, some Muslim leaders urged their followers to heed a government ban on weekend demonstrations protesting against denigration of the prophet.
Businesses closed and streets emptied across the country as the government declared a national holiday, the “Day of Love for the Prophet Muhammad,” to encourage peaceful protests against the controversial film that has ignited protest across the Muslim world for more than a week.
In Peshawar, where the television employee was killed, protesters attacked and burned two movie theaters, breaking through the windows with sticks and setting fire to posters that featured images of female movie stars.
In Islamabad, where thousands of protesters flooded toward the heavily guarded diplomatic enclave, Express News reported that the police ran out of rubber bullets because of heavy firing.
A television reporter said that when protesters in nearby Rawalpindi ran out of material to burn, they broke into several tire shops along a major road to steal fresh supplies.
The government cut off cellphone coverage in major cities, while the authorities in Islamabad sealed all exits to the city after Friday Prayer, state radio reported.