Violent anti-US protest erupts in Kabul
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Hundreds of Afghans staged a violent protest in Kabul today against an American film deemed offensive to Islam, throwing stones at a US base, torching cars and shouting "Death to America", police said.
The demonstration erupted on Jalalabad Road, home to NATO and US military bases in the eastern part of the Afghan capital, with two police cars among those set ablaze, Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayoub Salangi said.
A low-budget trailer for a movie entitled "Innocence of Muslims" produced in the United States has sparked furious anti-American protests across the Islamic world.
Gunmen from the crowd -- which Salangi said numbered around 1,000 -- opened fire at police, but no one was hurt and Salangi said he had told officers not to return fire in a bid to avoid escalating the violence.
A photographer said burning tyres sent thick black smoke streaming into the sky and large stones littered the road as shopkeepers hurriedly locked up and ran away.
There was a heavy police deployment and fire fighters were quickly scrambled to try to extinguish the flames engulfing cars and storage containers owned by private businesses.
A local district police official, who gave his name only as Hafiz, said protesters threw stones at Camp Phoenix, a US-run military base in the area.
"Police drove them back from areas round the base," he said. The crowd had moved instead to the nearby Hodkhail bazaar, a few blocks from the base.
Lieutenant Colonel Hagen Masser, a spokesman for the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said Camp Phoenix had not come under attack.
"We heard that the demonstration could turn into something more violent. But it's only in the vicinity of Camp Phoenix, so it's not an attack," he said.
"We're monitoring the situation and we are ready. But it's the task of the police."
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