MANILA, Philippines – Philippine police stopped a march Friday on the U.S. Embassy by dozens of Muslims protesting the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Officers used anti-riot shields to push back the marchers from Manila's main mosque before they reached the boulevard leading to the seaside embassy compound after Friday's noon prayers. The protesters later dispersed peacefully.
Protest leader and Islamic cleric Alim Jamil Yahya says he condemns the "brutal killing" of bin Laden and describes the al-Qaida founder's burial at sea as a desecration of his body.
He says that although many Muslims did not agree with bin Laden's methods, they still revered him as a martyr because he fought for freedom against oppression by "the satanic U.S. hegemony."
The group also expressed support for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and called for an end to the NATO bombings.
They carried a banner saying "Stop genocide in Libya! Let Muslims rule their own land. US allies: Stay out of Muslim lands."
The Philippines is majority Roman Catholic but has a sizable Muslim minority.