Sudan protests at Danish cartoons

Khartoum, Sudan - Thousands of people have demonstrated in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, in protest at the reprinting of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

The cartoons were reprinted in Danish newspapers two years after they first prompted worldwide protests.

President Omar al-Bashir called for a Muslim boycott of Danish goods and said Danes were no longer welcome in Sudan.

A German minister called on European newspapers to reprint the cartoons as a show of support for press freedom.

Worldwide protests

Protests have taken place in Indonesia, the Gaza Strip, Pakistan, and Denmark since the cartoons were reprinted.

Correspondents say many protesters feel that Denmark has learnt little since the publication of the cartoons two years ago, which prompted protests and rioting across the world.

At least 50 people were killed and three Danish embassies were attacked in 2006.

In Sudan, the government-organised rally was mostly peaceful, though the atmosphere was highly charged, and there were some reports of stone throwing.

Roads in central Khartoum were closed and traffic was brought to a standstill.

Leaflets handed out called for an official apology from the Danish government.

"We urge all Muslims around the world to boycott Danish commodities, goods, companies, institutions, organisations and personalities," President Bashir told crowds outside the Republic Palace in Khartoum.

"Not a single Danish foot will from now on desecrate the land of Sudan," he added.

It was not immediately clear how many Danes live in Sudan or if those banned include diplomats.

On Tuesday, Sudan said it had banned the import of Danish goods.

German support

In an interview, Germany's interior minister gave his backing to the Danish newspapers' decision to reprint the cartoons.

"I have respect for the fact that Danish newspapers have now all printed the Muhammad caricatures, on the basis we will not let ourselves to be divided," Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted as saying by the German weekly news magazine Die Zeit.

"Actually, all European newspapers should now print these caricatures, with the explanation: 'We also find them lousy, but the exercise of press freedom is no reason to practise violence,'" Mr Schaeuble said.