TUNIS, Tunisia -- Tunisia's government has banned any protests Friday against a French satirical weekly's publication of lewd, crude caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Interior Minister Ali Larayedh told Tunisian radio that authorities sensed that some groups were planning to pillage and carry out violence after weekly communal prayers at mosques Friday.

"To repel any risk and in the interest of preserving the security of people, property and our foreign guests, we have decided to forbid any demonstration in the country," the minister told Shems FM.

Wednesday's publication of the cartoons by Charlie Hebdo weekly has raised concerns that French interests could face violent protests like the ones targeting the U.S. over an amateur video produced in California that mocked Muhammad.

The government of France – a former colonial ruler in Tunisia – has ordered its embassies and other official sites in about 20 countries across the Muslim world closed Friday as a precaution. Paris has already shut its embassy and a French school in Tunis, the site of a deadly protest last week at the U.S. Embassy over the amateurish video entitled "Innocence of Muslims."

Calls to protest in Tunisia against the caricatures have turned up in social media.

The governing, moderate Islamist party Ennahda expressed support for the right to peaceful protest, while the office of President Moncef Marzouki has appealed to Tunisians "not to fall into the trap of provocation by those who want to cause trouble in Muslim countries."

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  • Publishing director of the satyric weekly Charlie Hebdo, Charb, holds the newspaper as he talks to the media in Paris, on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/MIchel Euler)

  • Publishing director of the satyric weekly Charlie Hebdo, Charb, gestures as he talks to the media in Paris, on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/MIchel Euler)

  • Publishing director of the satyric weekly Charlie Hebdo, Charb, displays the front page of the newspaper as he poses for photographers in Paris, on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/MIchel Euler)

  • A French policeman stands guard outside the headquarters of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/MIchel Euler)

  • Satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo's editor in chief, Charb, answers reporters in front of the headquarters of the newspaper, that "invited" the Prophet Muhammad as a guest editor this week, in Paris, Nov. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • A police officer stands in front of the headquarters of satiric French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, that "invited" the Prophet Muhammad as a guest editor this week, in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • A police officer stands front of the headquarters of satiric French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, that "invited" the Prophet Muhammad as a guest editor this week, in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. A police official said the fire broke out overnight at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, and the cause remains unclear. No injuries were reported. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because an investigation into the fire is under way. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)