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Sudanese crowds call for death of Briton

December 01, 2007|From the Associated Press

KHARTOUM, SUDAN — Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad.

In response to the demonstration, teacher Gillian Gibbons was moved from the women's prison near Khartoum to a secret location for her safety, her lawyer said.

In Britain, Gibbons' son John said his mother was "holding up well" and that she had made an appeal for tolerance.

"One of the things my mum said today was that 'I don't want any resentment towards Muslim people,' " John Gibbons said, relaying part of a telephone conversation with her.

The protesters streamed out of mosques after Friday sermons, as pickup trucks with loudspeakers blared messages castigating Gibbons, who was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in prison and deportation. She avoided the more serious punishment of 40 lashes.

The protesters massed in central Martyrs Square outside the presidential palace. Hundreds of riot police were deployed but did not try to stop the rally, which lasted about an hour.

"Shame, shame on the U.K.," protesters chanted.

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