France stepped up security at some of its embassies on Wednesday after a satirical Parisian weekly published crude caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. 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.

Continue Reading on www.usatoday.com