Violence explodes as film protests spread

2012-09-14 18:42

Cairo - Angry demonstrations against an anti-Islam film spread to their widest extent yet around the Middle East and other Muslim countries on Friday, as protesters smashed into the German Embassy in the Sudanese capital and security forces in Egypt and Yemen fired tear gas and clashed with protesters to keep them away from US embassies.

One protester was killed in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli in clashes with security forces, after a crowd of protesters set fire to a KFC and an Arby's restaurant.

Protesters hurled stones and glass at police in a furious melee that left 25 people wounded, 18 of them police.

Protests were held in cities from Egypt to Pakistan after weekly Friday Muslim prayers, where many clerics in their mosques sermons denounced an obscure movie produced in the United States that denigrated the Prophet Muhammad.

The spread of protests comes after attacks earlier this week on the US Embassies in Cairo and the Yemeni capital Sana’a and on a US consulate in Libya, where the ambassador and three other Americans were killed.


After security forces earlier this week stood aside in the face of protesters, Yemen and Egypt made efforts on Friday to contain them. In an apparent attempt to patch up strained ties with the United States, Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, went on state TV and urged Muslims to protect foreign diplomatic missions - his most direct public move to contain protests.

In Sudan, a prominent sheik on state radio urged protesters to march on the German Embassy to protest alleged anti-Muslim graffiti on mosques in Berlin and then to the US Embassy to protest the film.

"America has long been an enemy to Islam and to Sudan," Sheik Mohammed Jizouly said.

Soon after, several hundred Sudanese stormed into the German Embassy, burning a car parked behind its gates and setting fire to trash cans. Protesters danced and celebrated around the burning barrels as palls of black smoke billowed into the sky.

Police firing tear gas drove the protesters out of the compound. Some then began to demonstrate outside the neighbouring British Embassy, shouting slogans, while others left, apparently heading to the American Embassy, which is outside of the capital.

Israel, Yemen

In east Jerusalem, Israeli police stopped a crowd of around 400 Palestinians from marching on the US consulate to protest the film. Demonstrators threw bottles and stones at police, who responded by firing stun grenades. Four protesters were arrested.

Security forces in Yemen shot live rounds in the air and fired tear gas at a crowd of around 2 000 protesters trying to march to the US Embassy in the capital, Sana'a. Though outnumbered by protesters, security forces were able to keep the crowd about a block away from the mission.

A day earlier, hundreds of protesters chanting "death to America" stormed the embassy compound in Sana’a and burned the American flag. The embassy said nobody was harmed. Yemen's president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, quickly apologised to the United States and vowed to track down the culprits.


In Egypt, several hundred protesters massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square after weekly Muslim Friday prayers and tore up an American flag, waving a black, Islamist flag.

A firebrand ultraconservative Salafi cleric blasted the film and in his sermon in Cairo's Tahrir Square said it was upon Muslims to defend Islam and its prophet.

Many in the crowd then moved to join protesters who have been clashing for several days with police between Tahrir and the US Embassy. "With our soul, our blood, we will avenge you, our Prophet," they chanted as police fired volleys of tear gas.

Ahead of the clashes, the president spoke for more than seven minutes on state TV, saying, "It is required by our religion to protect our guests and their homes and places of work".

"So I call on all to consider this, consider the law, and not attack embassies, consulates, diplomatic missions or Egyptian property that is private or public," he said.

Calls for peace

He denounced the killing of the American ambassador in Libya. "This is something we reject and Islam rejects. To God, the attack on a person to Allah is bigger an attack on the Kaaba," he said, referring to Islam's holiest site in Mecca.

His own Muslim Brotherhood group called for peaceful protests in Tahrir to denounce the film.

The movie, called "Innocence of Muslims," ridicules the Prophet Muhammad, portraying him as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester.

A small, peaceful demonstration was held on Friday outside the US Embassy in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.


A prominent cleric in Indonesia has urged Muslims there to remain calm despite their anger about the film. But Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, a branch of the international network that advocates a worldwide Islamic state, on its website blamed the US government for allowing the film to be produced and released, calling it "an act of barbarism that cannot go unpunished".

Meanwhile, a Libyan airport official said all flights to and from the eastern city of Benghazi were cancelled due to security concerns. The nearest airport is 200km away. The airport official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release the information.

Benghazi is where the attack on the US consulate took place on Tuesday.

  • fidelis.oviahon - 2012-09-14 18:47

    Just a thought, what sort or Faith inclines you to fight for the author, am really glad I follow the Christian Faith, i don't have to fight My Authors battles. He alone is a mighty Man of War. He even Endured the Cross of Calvary. anyways am glad I only have to co-exist now....................because next time around this "Mallams" deserve there own planet. Please Lord grant our request.

      fort.horseman.7 - 2012-09-14 21:32

      @fidelis,u high nd virtues opinion is condecending.I wud respect it if it was factual.u maybe sitting comfrtably in ur cacoon,while ur fellow crusaders r waging war,disrespect and destruction al over the muslim world.Show me 1 Christian country thats being violently occupied by muslims??or any muslim author who has insulted Christianity Jesus or the Bibel?under the guise of free expression??

  • roger.kaputnick.90 - 2012-09-14 19:13

    Me thinks they protest too much! The truth about their religion hurts. Ultimately they will suffer, their economy will be ruined (or more ruined than it is already) and many muslims will die, which is how they want they get it!

      fort.horseman.7 - 2012-09-14 21:01

      @roger.wot u 'think' is usually frm sum1 who doesnt have a brain to start off wid,and is the same ting dats usually flushed down the toilet.

      Madhi - 2012-09-14 23:43

      U not a theologian by the look of it and u have no grounds judging religious affairs.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-14 20:43

    Humanity is sitting on an explosive emotional-bomb. It's important that we siphon this explosive energy off, and temper it with tolerance, freedom of expression and mutual respect.

      Madhi - 2012-09-14 23:42

      i would have said those are my words if it was not u speaking them. The only time sense comes out of u, i think someone is growing up. No just underline that freedom of speech must not be freedom to insult.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-15 02:00

      Could be you've been misreading my words. I know emotional tones are not always easy to pick up.

  • Vince.York - 2012-09-14 21:00

    Prophet of Love & Peace +/-750 years before the Prophet of Hate, Power & Violence materialised???? What has happened to the psyche?

      roger.kaputnick.90 - 2012-09-14 21:39

      The devil is in the details...quite literally. The devil needed to trump God after Jesus was sent here 2000k+ years ago, so he came up with his own religion. What else explains this rabid madness?

      fort.horseman.7 - 2012-09-14 22:18

      @roger.ur existence is probably.

  • pdevillet.patrik - 2012-09-14 22:36

    all religions are the curse of humanity.more people got killed through history on the name of some god than any other cataclysm ,and it goes on....

  • nicholas.breakey - 2012-09-15 00:56

    These fools deserve some Marikana police treatment what a bunch of apes.

  • daan.vosser - 2012-09-15 06:49

    Can some one please explain to me the following. When some one out side the muslim world makes any "wrong" comment or illustration towards the Prophet Muhammad or the Koraan the muslim world stands together wich is great except for the violence part and take action. When some one else( usually muslim faith person) stands with the Koraan in his hand cut a person head off or kills in the name of the Koraan nothing happens???? Now I am not an expert on the muslim faith but through interviews with muslims that I have seen the muslim faith does not preach violence. Why does the muslim world not stand together in these circumstances and re-act in the same manner????? I relly just want to understand this, can any one explain. Just a question to get a better understanding.

      pdevillet.patrik - 2012-09-15 22:12

      only a deafening silence......

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