Published September 14, 2012
CAIRO – Here's a look at protests across the Middle East and elsewhere on Friday, four days after crowds angry over an anti-Muslim film ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad began assaulting a string of U.S. embassies in the region.
Violent protests outside the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Tunis, were met with tear gas and gunshots, leaving two people dead, 29 others injured and plumes of black smoke wafting over the city.
Several dozen protesters briefly stormed the embassy compound, tearing down the American flag and raising a banner bearing the Muslim profession of faith. They also set fire to an American school adjacent to the embassy compound and prevented firefighters from approaching it.
The American School in Tunis was badly damaged and is now "unusable," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters. All embassy personnel are safe and accounted for.
Protesters who breached the walls at the embassy in Tunis did damage to the exterior — walls, broken windows and cars in the parking lot, the State Department said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the Tunisian prime minister Friday to make sure that security efforts were being properly coordinated.
Riot police clashed with hundreds of protesters blocks away from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, killing one protester, as the president broadcast an appeal to Muslims to protect embassies and tried to patch up strained relations with Washington. After weekly prayers, a crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square tore up an American flag, and waved a black, Islamist flag. When protesters tried to move toward the embassy, ranks of police confronted them, firing tear gas.
Security forces opened fire in the northeastern Lebanese city of Tripoli, killing one person after a crowd angry over the film set fire to a KFC and a Hardee's restaurant. About 25 people were wounded in the melee, including 18 policemen who were hit with stones and glass.
Several hundred protesters stormed the German Embassy in the capital, Khartoum, burning a car parked behind its gates and trash cans before police firing tear gas drove them out.
Two or three protesters managed to climb the embassy wall but were repelled by Sudanese security forces. Vice President Joe Biden called Sudanese Vice President Taha to discuss the situation. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides also spoke with Sudanese officials to ensure that security was stepped up. All embassy personnel are safe and accounted for.
Security forces shot live rounds in the air and fired tear gas at a crowd of around 2,000 protesters trying to march to the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Sanaa. Police kept the crowd at bay about a block away. Friday's demonstration came a day after hundreds stormed the embassy compound and burned the American flag. The U.S. State Department said the embassy compound was not breached Friday and that all personnel were safe and accounted for.
Thousands protested in the volatile Indian-controlled region of Kashmir, burning U.S. flags and calling President Barack Obama a "terrorist." The top government cleric reportedly demanded Americans leave immediately.
In the southern city of Chennai, protesters threw stones at the U.S. Consulate, shattering some windows and burning an effigy of Obama. Police quickly cleared the area, arresting more than 100 protesters.
The Israeli police say about 400 people marched toward the U.S. consulate in east Jerusalem in protest over the prophet film. Demonstrators threw bottles and stones at police, who responded by firing stun grenades. Four protesters were arrested and the crowd was prevented from reaching the U.S. consulate.
More than 2,000 protesters chanted against the film and burned American and Israeli flags after Friday prayers in Diraz, outside the capital, Manama. Security forces were absent. Separately, Bahrain's Interior Ministry ordered media regulators to attempt to block access to the film clip.
Some 5,000 hardline Muslims marched in the streets of the capital, Dhaka, after Friday prayers, burning U.S. and Israeli flags and calling for the death of the filmmaker. Police prevented them from marching toward the U.S. Embassy several miles away.
About 1,500 protested outside the eastern city of Jalalabad, shouting "Death to America" and urging President Hamid Karzai to sever relations with the U.S.
Hundreds demonstrated in Baghdad's northern Sunni neighborhood of Azamaiyah, some shouting: "No, no America! No, no to Israel," and, "We are ready to sacrifice ourselves for our Prophet." Dozens also marched in Baghdad's poor Sadr City district. In the southern city of Basra, about 1,000 took to the streets and burned the American and Israeli flags. One banner said: "Freedom doesn't mean offending two billion Muslims."
Soldiers opened fire to drive away young Muslims protesting the film in the central city of Jos, as demonstrators elsewhere in the county's north burned a U.S. flag.
The youths, some wearing white shirts that read "To Hell With America, To Hell With Israel," chanted slogans and called for the arrest of the makers of the film. It was not clear whether anyone was injured in the gunfire or the melee.
Muslims attacked a Christian school in the city of Zinder, setting fire to the school's door and student bunks and destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary before security forces intervened.
Thousands shouted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" in Tehran in a demonstration after Friday prayers. Some burned the American and Israeli flags. State TV says similar protests were held in other Iranian cities.
Hundreds of hardline Muslims held peaceful protests against the film throughout Pakistan, shouting slogans and carrying banners criticizing the U.S. and those involved in the film. Police in Islamabad set up barricades and razor wire to block off a diplomatic enclave where the U.S. Embassy and many other foreign missions are located.
About 200 protesters waved the Syrian flag and shouted anti-American slogans outside the long-closed U.S. Embassy in Damascus. The crowd held banners saying: "He who curses the Prophet doesn't seek democracy" and "a nation whose Prophet is Muhammad, would never kneel down." The U.S. embassy has been closed since February because of the country's bloody conflict that has killed about 23,000 people.
About 1,000 protesters gathered outside the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy in the capital, Doha, chanting anti-US slogans and calling for Washington to remove its military presence from the strategic Gulf nation.
An influential cleric reminded worshippers that the American government had no role in the film and that "loyalty to the Prophet is not expressed by attacking embassies."
In London, around 250 protesters marched noisily but peacefully through Britain's capital to the U.S. embassy. The group, which called itself the "Defenders of The Prophet," held placards denouncing the U.S. and perceived Western imperialism.
Hundreds of people gathered in Istanbul's Beyazit Square to protest the film. The protest was organized by Turkey's main Islamist political party, Saadet.
In the city of Nablus, about 200 people demonstrated against the film as Muslim clerics throughout the territory preached against it in Friday sermons.
About 200 protesters chanted slogans and held up signs in a largely peaceful protest outside the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy in the capital, Jakarta. Indonesia's government has been working to block access to clips of the film online, and a prominent cleric has urged calm.
About 20 protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. They briefly shouted "Allahu akbar!" or God is great, and handed reporters a letter addressed to the American ambassador expressing anger over the movie and calling for greater respect for religions.
In addition to countries where protests have already occurred, U.S. embassies around the world, including in France and Austria, put out alerts to Americans on Friday advising them to review their personal security measures and warning them demonstrations may occur and may turn violent.
Other embassies issuing alerts on Friday were those in Mauritania, where a protest was underway near a major bank, and India, where a regional leader in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir called on U.S. citizens to "immediately leave."
Since Sept. 11, 65 U.S. embassies and consulates have released alerts related to the protests, according to the State Department.