Anti-Islam movie: protests, clashes spread across Egypt, Germany & UK
Posted on 8 months ago
Protesters also clashed with police in Yemen, where one person died and 15 were injured on Thursday when the U.S. embassy compound was stormed, and crowds gathered against the California-made film in Malaysia, Bangladesh and Iraq. The film was blamed for an attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on Tuesday, the anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks on the United States. In Nigeria, where radical Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed hundreds this year in an insurgency, the government put police on alert and stepped up security around foreign missions. State-backed Islamist scholars in Sudan called a mass protest after Muslim prayers on Friday and an Islamist group threatened to attack the U.S. embassy in the capital Khartoum. The government also criticized Germany for tolerating criticism of the Prophet.
Security forces in Yemen fired warning shots and used water cannons against hundreds of protesters near the U.S. embassy in Sanaa. "Today is your last day, ambassador!", and "America is the devil", some placards read.
The embassy told U.S. citizens it expected more protests against the film. "The security situation remains fluid," it said in a statement posted on its website. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the video was "unspeakable" but should not be used as an excuse for violence. He also appealed to nations affected by the protests to strengthen protection of diplomatic missions.
U.S. and other Western embassies in other Muslim countries had tightened security, fearing anger at the film may prompt attacks on their compounds after the weekly worship. The protests present U.S. President Barack Obama with a new foreign policy crisis less than two months before seeking re-election and tests Washington's relations with democratic governments it helped to power across the Arab world. Obama has vowed to bring those responsible for the Benghazi attack to justice, and the United States sent warships towards Libya which one official said was to give flexibility for any future action. Cairo protesters threw rocks at police, who threw them back and fired tear gas. A burnt-out car was overturned in the middle of the street leading to the fortified embassy from Tahrir Square, focus of protests that ushered in democracy. Egypt has said the U.S. government, which has condemned the film, should not be blamed for it, but has also urged Washington to take legal action against those insulting religion. President Mohamed Mursi, an Islamist who is Egypt's first freely elected president, is having to strike a delicate balance, protecting the embassy of a major donor while also showing a robust response to a film that angered Islamists.
"What happened a few days ago was a pernicious attempt to insult the Prophet Mohammad. It is something we reject and Egypt stands against. We will not permit that these acts are carried out," said Mursi, on a visit to Italy, adding: "We cannot accept the killing of innocent people nor attacks on embassies. We must defend diplomats and tourists who come to visit our country. Killing people is forbidden...by our faith." Meanwhile, protesters angered by a film mocking Islam have attacked the German and British embassies in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Demonstrators started fires and tore down the German flag, raising an Islamist banner in its place. Protests are taking place across the Middle East and North Africa. In Cairo, police firing tear gas pushed about 500 protesters back from the US embassy.
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