Police shoot at protesters to stop them from marching on U.S. military base in Afghanistan

Police shot at protesters Wednesday to stop them from marching on a U.S. military base, as Afghanistan's top Islamic organization called for an end to four days of riots over cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.

Seven police and three stone-throwing protesters were wounded during the clash in Qalat city, said Abdul Bari, the city's police chief.

He said police initially fired into the air to stop the demonstrators from advancing on the U.S. base, but they then had to fire into the crowd.

Members of Afghanistan's Ulama Council, the country's top Islamic clerics' organization, went on radio and TV stations Wednesday, calling for an end to the violence.

"Islam says it's all right to demonstrate but not to resort to violence. This must stop," senior cleric Mohammed Usman told The Associated Press. "We condemn the cartoons but this does not justify violence. These rioters are defaming the name of Islam,” reports the AP.

I.L.