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Chechnya's ruthless leader Ramzan Kadyrov was among hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets of the republic's capital, Grozny, to protest against Charlie Hebdo.

Up to 500,000 people gathered outside the Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque to vent their anger at cartoons mocking Islam's Prophet Mohammed published by the French satirical magazine, in response to an Islamist attack that killed 12 of its staff.

Chechnya is a Muslim-majority state and has long been fighting an Islamist insurgency.

In the last incident, almost 20 people were killed as Islamist gunmen went on a shooting spree in Grozny in December.

The 'Love for the Prophet Mohammad' rally was called by religious leaders in the southern Russian republic and backed by Kadyrov, who said he considered supporters of Charlie Hebdo to be his "personal enemies".

Last week, Kadyrov - who has been accused by rights groups of overseeing kidnap, torture and murder of opponents - threatened the editor of a Russian radio station who polled listeners on whether it was appropriate for media to republish the Mohammed cartoons. A total of 68% of responders said "yes".

In response, the Chechen leader said that Echo of Moscow's editor Aleksei Venediktov had turned the broadcaster into an "anti-Islamic horn" and hinted he was going to pay for it.

"There will be people to make Venediktov responsible," Kadyrov wrote on Twitter.

He went on to accuse former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky of being an "enemy to all the Muslims of the world" for calling on Russian publications to re-print Charlie Hebdo cartoons in solidarity with the magazine.

"I consider people who support Charlie Hebdo's and other publications' 'rights' to offend the religious feelings of half a billion Muslims to be my personal enemies," Kadyrov wrote on Instagram.

Ahead of Monday's rally in Grozny, however, the 38-year-old leader condemned violence as a response to the cartoons.

"Violence is not a way out. It is not our method of struggle against immoral people. We must show our unity and love for the Prophet. It is the best response." Kadyrov was quote by Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Grozny's protest came after a similar, smaller rally was held in Magas, the capital of the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia.

Charlie Hebdo's Mohammed cartoons have drawn the condemnation of Muslim groups across the world with demonstrations held in numerous countries. According to the Islamic faith, it is offensive to depict the Prophet in any manner.