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Protest in Tripoli against Macron over remarks on 'free speech'

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AFP

Protest

The backlash against President Emmanuel Macron's comments on Islam intensified Sunday, with some Libyans burning the French flag and portraits of Macron during a protest in the capital Tripoli.

The latest backlash from the muslim world against Macron comes after he vowed his country would not "give up cartoons" depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

Macron had been speaking in the wake of the beheading of a french teacher Samuel Paty for showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed to pupils in a lesson on free speech earlier this month.

The backlash against President Macron's comments also intensified with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a reaction urging Macron to have "mental checks".

Erdogan alleged Macron was treating "millions of members from different faith groups" a certain way.

Paris has recalled its envoy to Ankara in disapproval of Erdogan's comments.

The Turkish government has however doubled down on those comments, accusing Macron on on Sunday of being "obsessed with Erdogan day and night".

"(Macron) is a case and therefore he really needs to have checks," he said in a televised speech in the eastern Anatolian city of Malatya.

Relations between Macron and Erdogan have become increasingly strained over geopolitical issues ranging from a Greek-Turkish maritime dispute to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The European Union's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, called the comments Erdogan made on Saturday "unacceptable" and urged Turkey "to cease this dangerous spiral of confrontation."

French authorities announced on Thursday that seven people will be prosecuted for 'conspiracy to commit a terrorist murder' over the beheading of Mr Paty.

Mr Paty became the subject of an online hate campaign over his choice of lesson material - the same images which unleashed a bloody assault by Islamist gunmen on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo five years ago.