Protests have tapered off in many countries, but in Pakistan on Thursday, more than 2,000 people tried to reach the U.S. Embassy inside a guarded enclave that houses embassies and government offices.
Riot police used tear gas and batons to keep the stone-throwing demonstrators away from the enclave, and hundreds of shipping containers were lined up to cordon off the area. The government later called in army troops to protect the restricted areas when it appeared that police could not handle the situation.
"It is our responsibility to protect all our diplomats, all the foreigners," said Pakistani Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira. He criticized protesters for resorting to violence and suggested that various religious and militant groups among the crowd were to blame.
Most of the protesters appeared to be students affiliated with the Islamist hardline Jamaat-e-Islami party. Flags from other Islamist groups, Jamaat-u-Dawa and the al-Qaida linked militant group, Sipah-e-Sahaba, could be seen flying among the crowd. Demonstrators also rallied peacefully in the Pakistani cities of Lahore, Chaman, Karachi and Peshawar.
The demonstrations are expected to grow on Friday, the traditional Muslim day of prayer. The Pakistani government deemed Friday a national holiday so people can demonstrate peacefully against the film.
That decision drew rare praise from the Pakistani Taliban, which is usually at war with the government. A spokesman for the militant group said it welcomed the decision but also thought the government should expel all American diplomats.
The U.S. State Department on Thursday warned all U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Pakistan until further notice. Their previous travel warning only reminded Americans of ongoing security concerns in the country. American consulates across the country have been closed to the public all week.
In Indonesia, the U.S. consulate in the country's third-largest city of Medan was closed for a second day because of demonstrations. Fifty students from an Islamic university gathered in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province in Indonesia to protest the film.
In Iran, hundreds of students and clerics gathered outside the French embassy in Tehran to protest the publication of the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the French weekly. In Kabul, a few hundred people demonstrated against the film before dispersing peacefully.