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France steps up embassy security following Muhammed cartoons (+video)

A Parisian weekly has published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, prompting French to take extra security measures at some of its embassies.

French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo has published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, a decision criticised by the French authorities which sent riot police to protect the magazine's offices.
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France stepped up security at some of its embassies on Wednesday after a satirical Parisian weekly published crude caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The prime minister said he would block a demonstration by people angry over a movie insulting to Islam as the country plunged into a fierce debate about free speech.

The government defended the right of magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish the cartoons, which played off of the U.S.-produced film "The Innocence of Muslims," and riot police took up positions outside the offices of the magazine, which was firebombed last year after it released an edition that mocked radical Islam.

The amateurish movie, which portrays the prophet as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester, has set off violence in seven countries that has killed at least 28 people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

The French Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning Wednesday urging French people in the Muslim world to exercise "the greatest vigilance," avoiding all public gatherings and "sensitive buildings" such as those representing the West or religious sites.

Government authorities and Muslim leaders urged calm in France, which has western Europe's largest Muslim population.

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