An estimated 25,000 people protested in southeastern Bangladesh on Sunday over a a picture posted to Facebook, allegedly by a Buddhist, was deemed derogatory to Islam.
Buddhist temples and neighbourhoods were attacked, prompting residents to flee. The man accused of posting the photograph was escorted to safety by police, along with his mother.
Starting with a protest at approximately 10.30pm in Ramu, close to Chittagong, eleven temples were reportedly torched, and two more significantly damaged as the crowds moved through Buddhist villages in the area.
Local journalist local Sunil Barua reported:
“I have seen 11 wooden temples, two of them 300 years old, torched by the mob. They looted precious items and Buddha statues from the temples. Shops owned by Buddhists were also looted.”
Paramilitary Border Guard troops were called, along with riot police to control the situation, however irreparable damage had already been done to the historic sites.
No casualties were reported, and authorities did not confirm whether police arrested any of the rioters.
The incident comes as protests over an anti-Islam film continue to simmer worldwide.