Despite Obama’s apology, Afghans return to street to protest Koran burning

The Takeaway

Protesters in Afghanistan have taken to the streets for a fourth consecutive day to protest the accidental burning of Korans at a U.S. Air Force Base.

The Korans were taken from prisoners and thought to be subversive materials. President Barack Obama and top American military leaders have apologized for the incident, but the anger continues.

BBC correspondent Orla Guerin said there were five separate demonstration in the capital, Kabul, on Friday.

“We also have demonstrations taking place in a number of other parts of the country,” she said. “The authorities are taking action very quickly to try to prevent any of these demonstrations from getting to sensitive locations.”

There have been reports of soldiers for the Afghan National Army firing shots into the air to prevent protesters from marching toward the Defense Ministry and U.S Embassy.

Another group, Guerin said, was blocked from entering the south part of the city.

“So far, we’re not seeing the kind of violence that has happened in recent days,” Guerin said.

The burning of the Korans has provoked a deeply emotional response among Afghan’s, Guerin said. One army soldier she talked to said it almost brought him to tears.

The Taliban and others are trying to take advantage of the anger, calling on Afghans to target NATO bases, NATO convoys and NATO soldiers, urging that any soldiers caught be beaten and killed.

“There has also been incitement by some members of the Afghan Parliament,” Guerin said.

Despite the apologies, Guerin said it will be some time before people on the streets of Afghanistan are ready to accept that Americans merely made a mistake — and didn’t deliberately burn the Korans.

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