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France bans Muhammad cartoon protests

The country's Interior Ministry announced it will crack down on any kind of protest against the cartoon that denigrated the Muslim prophet.

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"If Charlie Hebdo wanted to make a quick buck, it would not produce Charlie Hebdo," it said on its Twitter feed.

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The publication, whose origins date back to the 1960s protest movement, has a print run of around 70,000 but its Muhammad cartoons have made front-page news in a country which has both the largest Muslim and Jewish populations in Europe.

So far there has been little street reaction in France but authorities are concerned they could compound the worldwide fury over the privately funded, California-made video depicting Prophet Mohammad as a lecher. Police occupied strategic positions in the capital but kept a relatively low profile.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, called in Le Monde for a ban on the Muslim veil and the Jewish kippa headgear.

When Valls, the Interior Minister, confirmed the ban on protests over the cartoons, he also said: "Neither will I allow street prayers, which have no place in this republic. And naturally the law will apply to anyone who wears the full face veil."

France has banned women from wearing full face veils in public.

President Francois Hollande's government has sought to balance a cherished tradition of freedom of expression with security concerns, denouncing Charlie Hebdo as irresponsible.

"When you are free, in a country like ours, you always have to measure the impact of your words," French European Affairs Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

French media showed footage of an embassy protected by soldiers and barbed wire in former French colony Tunisia, where the Islamist-led government has also banned protests over the cartoons. About 100 Iranians protested outside the French embassy in Tehran on Thursday.

In Germany, which has a large Turkish community, the satirical magazine "Titanic" circulated a preview of its October edition with a cover linked to the Muhammad film saga.

The photo montage shows the wife of a former German president in the clutches of a bearded, dagger-wielding man in a turban - a satire on a book by former first lady Bettina Wulff about her husband's resignation over the couple's murky finances.

"The West in Uproar: Bettina Wulff Making a Mohammed Film," runs the headline.

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