The Tahreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party has called for supporters to rally in Rawalpindi on Sunday, November 15, to denounce French President Emmanuel Macron's recent vow to fight 'Islamist separatism'. Demonstrators reportedly plan to gather at Liaquat Bagh from 11:00 (local time) before marching to Faizabad Bridge.
Localized disruptions and a heightened security presence should be anticipated in the vicinity of rallies. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
Tensions over the response of the French government to recent Islamist attacks and terrorism in the country have been increasing since the murder of teacher Samuel Paty by an alleged Islamist extremist in the northern Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on October 16. The attack prompted an outpouring of support in France and a strong response from the government which saw dozens arrested and several organizations and mosques closed in a widespread crackdown on alleged Islamic extremism. However, comments from President Emmanuel Macron regarding religious rights and freedom of expression and the display of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad at solidarity rallies following the attack have since prompted accusations of Islamophobia from several Muslim political and religious leaders around the world.
Dozens of protests over the crackdown and French government policies have since been held outside French embassies and consulates in multiple countries over the last week, including Turkey, Bangladesh, Iran, Mali, Mauritania, Libya, Pakistan, and Indonesia, some of which have drawn thousands of participants. There have also been widespread calls for a boycott of French goods, particularly foodstuffs, in Muslim-majority countries, with the protest being supported by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and several other Muslim leaders.
Those in Rawalpindi are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all gatherings, anticipate associated disruption, and heed all instructions issued by local authorities.
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