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'Blood money': Pakistanis protest the release of CIA contractor

Arif Ali / AFP - Getty Images

Pakistani protesters torch tires on a street during a demonstraion against the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis in Lahore on Wednesday, March 16.

NBC, msnbc.com and news services reports:

An American CIA contractor facing murder charges in Pakistan has been released after the U.S. paid more than $2 million in "blood money" to the relatives of the victims, a lawyer for the families said Wednesday.

The release of Raymond Allen Davis sparked angry protests. Police fired tear gas to break up a crowd of about 200 demonstrators outside a U.S. consulate, some of whom burned tires.

Police made several arrests in Lahore and struck other people with batons, according to witnesses. There were smaller protests in other main cities as well.

Davis, who had been in jail since Jan. 27, was accused of killing two Pakistani men in a case that has seriously strained ties between Pakistan and the United States.

Lawyer Raja Irshad said 19 relatives appeared in court Wednesday to accept payments totaling $2.34 million. He said each told the court "they were ready to accept the blood money deal without pressure and would have no objection if the court acquitted Raymond Davis."

NBC's Carol Grisanti reports from Pakistan, where Raymond Allen Davis was released today after being held for killing two men in January who he says were robbing him.