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Protesters gathered outside the New York Post's Manhattan office last night chanting "shut the Post down" after they claimed a cartoon in the tabloid compared President Obama to a chimpanzee.  

The Post’s Editor-in-Chief insists his cartoonist was simply mocking the authors of the fiscal stimulus Bill as no better than a team of trained monkeys. But the newspaper's critics say Sean Delonas's sketch was tantamount to calling for Barack Obama to be assassinated.  

The cartoon, published on page six of the newspaper on Wednesday, showed a policeman standing over the corpse of an ape with a smoking gun in his hand. A colleague says to him: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus Bill."  

The cartoon was referencing a celebrity chimpanzee named Travis who was shot dead by police in Stamford, Connecticut on Monday, after it mauled a friend of its owner.  

Members of the public also reacted angrily against the Post. Its phones rang all day with upset readers and protesters, picketing the tabloid's offices, demanded an apology and a boycott.  

"How could the Post let this cartoon pass as satire?" said Barbara Ciara, president of the National Association of Black Journalists. "To compare the nation's first African-American commander-in-chief to a dead chimpanzee is nothing short of racist drivel."  

State Senator Eric Adams called it a throwback to the days when black men were lynched.  

Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the Post, defended the work. "The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut," Allan said in a statement. "It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist."  

Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, declined comment. "I have not seen the cartoon," he told reporters aboard Air Force One as Mr Obama returned to Washington. "But I don't think it's altogether newsworthy reading the New York Post."  

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