Islamic militia opened fire Monday on several thousand protesters, wounding two children who were demonstrating against the fundamentalists' takeover of a strategic Somali seaport, witnesses said Monday.

Islamic fighters with white bands on their heads fired toward demonstrators who had set tires ablaze in protest at the takeover of Kismayo, 260 miles southwest of the capital, Mogadishu.

"They are ... Al Qaeda and we do not want them," said protester Halimo Mohamed. "Theirs is not a religion. They are terrorists." Witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said two children were shot.

Sporadic gunfire could also be heard in parts of the town, Somalia's third largest.