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US newspaper office vandalised with stones reading "Public Apology or Else?"

February 18, 2006

Vandal Stones Office in New Mexico of The Gallup Independent After Cartoons Were Printed

Stones with threatening messages were thrown at the front doors of The Gallup Independent office at approximately 10 p.m. Wednesday. Gallup Police are investigating the incident which occurred the same day the newspaper ran controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. No evidence has been produced proving the incident was an act of retaliation for the publication of the cartoons which have sparked protests that have led to the deaths of scores of people throughout the world. [Photo by John A. Bowersmith/Independent]

Independent Staff

Pictured is one of two stones that were thrown at the doors of The Independent Wednesday night. [Photo by John A. Bowersmith/Independent]

GALLUP Someone shattered The Independent's glass entrance doors late Wednesday.

At about 10 p.m., an unknown individual threw a pair of fist-sized rocks at the doors, which caused the glass to shatter but not break. The rocks were covered in black marker with the phrases "public apology or else?" "think twice" and "repent, condemn or else?"

The vandalism occurred the same day of the newspaper's publication of two cartoons that portray the prophet Mohammed. The cartoons' initial publication in a midsize Danish newspaper fueled protests that have spread worldwide. The cartoons have since been published in at least a dozen newspapers.

However, no evidence has been recovered proving the incident was in retaliation for the publication of the cartoons or was done by a member of the local Arab community.

Still, Independent Publisher Bob Zollinger said "This company is not going to be intimidated by any individual or group." By mid-morning Thursday, the two panes of safety glass were replaced.

Two Gallup Independent employees were at the newspaper at the time of the incident. One of the employees called Gallup police, who gathered evidence from the newspaper's entryway and documented the incident through a police report.

No arrests have been made in connection with the vandalism. Police have increased their patrol of the area.

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