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4 killed after Nigerien protesters attack French cultural center

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Demonstrators burn a French flag during a protest against cartoons published by the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Algiers, Algeria, January 16, 2015.

At least four people have been killed during violent demonstrations in the West African country of Niger over comical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad published by the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

The violence broke out on Friday as protesters set fire to the French cultural center in Niger’s second largest city, Zinder, officials say.

A local police officer told reporters that three protesters and one police man were killed.

According to reports, at least 45 people were also wounded in the violence.

The center’s director said protesters had smashed facility’s entrance and set fire to the cafeteria, library and offices.

The distribution of the controversial French magazine has been banned in Niger because of the offensive cartoons.

Muslims across the Middle East and Africa also protested at the publication of satirical sketches of the Prophet Mohammad by Charlie Hebdo.

The French weekly has repeatedly provoked Muslim anger by publishing such offensive cartoons.

Millions of copies of the new edition of the satirical magazine were sold this week in the wake of a January 7 attack on its office in Paris, in which 12 people were killed.

An al-Qaeda branch in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack on Charlie Hebdo, saying that it chose and supported Said and Cherif Kouachi, the two brothers who allegedly carried out the deadly assault.


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