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Protesters condemn 'brutal killing' of bin Laden

/ Source: staff and news service reports

Muslims in the Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan protested Friday over the killing of Osama bin Laden, with one cleric vowing the holy war against the U.S. "will not stop with the death of Osama."

People in the crowds referred to the former al-Qaida leader as a martyr.

In Manila, Philippine police used anti-riot shields to stop a march on the U.S. Embassy by dozens of Muslims.

The marchers, who set off from Manila's main mosque, were prevented from reaching the boulevard leading to the seaside embassy compound after Friday's noon prayers. The protesters later dispersed peacefully.

Protest leader and Islamic cleric Alim Jamil Yahya said he condemned the "brutal killing" of bin Laden and described the al-Qaida founder's burial at sea as a desecration of his body.

He said that although many Muslims did not agree with bin Laden's methods, they still revered him as a martyr because he fought for freedom against oppression by "the satanic U.S. hegemony."

The group also expressed support for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and called for an end to the NATO bombings.

They carried a banner saying "Stop genocide in Libya! Let Muslims rule their own land. US allies: Stay out of Muslim lands."

The Philippines is majority Roman Catholic but has a sizable Muslim minority.

that before the march, the protesters held prayers and a memorial service for bin Laden at the Golden Mosque.

Citing a radio report, the paper said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda had urged the Muslim group not to treat bin Laden as a hero.

Lacierda reportedly said that bin Laden had deserved to die a violent death and that terrorism should be shunned by Muslims.

a suspected Muslim militant was arrested in Manila on Thursday.

It said the man was reportedly a known member of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf rebel group, who was wanted in connection with kidnapping and bombing cases.

'Down with America'In Pakistan, about 1,500 people protested, saying more figures like bin Laden would arise to wage holy war against the United States.

Predominantly Muslim Pakistan has yet to see any major backlash after U.S. special forces killed bin Laden early on Monday.

But his death has angered Islamists, with one major hardline political party calling on Pakistan's government to end its support for the U.S. war on militancy.

"Jihad (holy war) against America will not stop with the death of Osama," Fazal Mohammad Baraich, a cleric, said amid shouts of "Down with America" at a demonstration near the city of Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province in the southwest.

"Osama bin Laden is a shaheed (martyr). The blood of Osama will give birth to thousands of other Osamas."

Others burned American flags.

Vows to avenge bin Laden's deathIn Solo, Indonesia, scores of men rallied to publicly vow their readiness to sacrifice their lives to avenge the death of bin Laden.

The group, calling itself Al Kaida Solo, said it would focus attacks on the United States -- but there was no indication that it had the capacity to do so, or whether it was just bluster.

Several police kept watch on the rally in the city of Solo in central Java, but no one was detained.

"One hundred youths from Solo are ready to die to take revenge on the death of Osama," declared Choirul, a cleric in Al Kaida Solo and also a member of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) which has a history of violence including attacks on bars, nightclubs and the offices of Indonesia's Playboy magazine.

"His fight will not be ending," Choirul told the assembled group of around 60 men dressed in white Muslim robes with their faces covered to hide their identity.

Several other Indonesian Islamists have hailed bin Laden as a martyr this week, showing the continued militancy of some Southeast Asian groups, one of which predicted a major reprisal attack.

Security experts said the risk of attacks had risen.

"Osama had lived with a principle of living nobly or dying a martyr... But the U.S. said he was a terrorist and we objected to this view. Due to this lie we are committed to avenge his death," Endro Sudarsono, spokesman of the Solo group, told Reuters by telephone.