At least four people are dead after protestors clashed with police in Pakistan on Friday, The Associated Press reported.
Thousands supporting the far-right Islamist party Tehrik-i-Labaik – Pakistan (TLP) began marching on Friday from the eastern city of Lahore en route to the capital city Islamabad, according to the outlet.
At least two people and two demonstrators died on Friday, the AP reported.
The group was marching to demand that the government release TLP leader Saad Rizvi, who was arrested last year after demonstrations in France sparked by caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, according to the AP.
Police and military personnel were deployed to prevent demonstrators from leaving Lahore, Al Jazeera reported. Phone service was also suspended in parts of the city.
A police spokesman told the outlet that two people were killed and another was injured after demonstrators threw stones. Demonstrators were wounded after police used their batons and fired tear gas.
Anti-French sentiment has been growing since last year, when the French magazine Charlie Hebdo republished cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, sparking backlash. Depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a caricature or in any context that lacks respect is seen by many Muslims as blasphemous.
Protests led by TLP have since erupted, and the group has called for a boycott of French products and for the French ambassador to be expelled. Authorities briefly blocked access to social media in April as protests led by the TLP intensified.