- Mob scales the walls of U.S. embassy compound, sets fire to cars and replaces American flag
- Chaos across the globe amid anger at American-made anti-Islam film
- Kentucky Fried Chicken ransacked in Lebanon
- Protesters burn American flag in London
- American embassy stormed in Sudan
- 10,000 Muslims stage a noisy protest in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, burning and trampling American flags while chanting anti-US slogans
- Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak appeals for calm on live television, a day after Barack Obama issued a veiled warning to the region’s leaders to protect US embassies
- It follows unrest after September 11 attack on US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing ambassador and three other Americans
By Matt Blake
PUBLISHED: 09:02 EST, 14 September 2012 | UPDATED: 20:23 EST, 14 September 2012
His face full of childish innocence yet with his tiny hands grasping a gun, this young boy in Lebanon paints a haunting picture of the extremes of violence underway after an American-made anti-Islam film inflicted chaos across the world.
Symbols of America and U.S. embassies have been targeted around the globe in a fourth day of protest after Tuesday’s deadly raid on the American consulate in Libya.
Three people were killed on Friday – two in Tunisia and one in Egypt – as protesters battled with police armed with tear gas and rubber bullets and who sometimes fired into the air to try ward off the demonstrators from American embassies.
A black Islamic flag was raised over the U.S. embassy in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, after it was stormed by protesters who scaled the walls and set fire to cars. They tore down the Stars and Stripes and replaced it with the symbol of Islam; it remained there for hours before security forces pulled it down.
No U.S. staff were in the embassy in the city, where an American school has also been set on fire. A large cloud of black smoke rose around the U.S. embassy as stone-throwing protesters and police waged a pitched battle.
Thousands of demonstrators massed outside the embassy and several were seen climbing the outer wall of the embassy grounds and raising a flag on which was written the Muslim profession of faith. The protesters chanted ‘Obama, Obama, we are all Osamas’.
One protester was seen throwing a computer out of a window, while others walked away with telephones and computers. Police responded by firing tear gas, live rounds killing two protesters and wounding 28.
A group of several dozen protesters briefly managed to enter the embassy compound and set fire to cars in an embassy parking lot. They were pushed back outside by police and special forces who continued to arrive on the scene.
It was the worst incident in clashes around the world – with angry protesters ransacking a KFC and Hardee’s restaurant in Lebanon, police firing on protesters in Yemen, and unrest in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Jerusalem.
In London, an American flag was burned outside the U.S. embassy by protesters
One protester was killed in Lebanon and twenty five wounded by police who opened fire as they cracked down on the mob who turned their anger on the American fast food chains.A KFC in the northern city of Tripoli was set alight after the mob – many wearing face masks- ransacked the interior.
In Sudan, the American embassy was also attacked and smoke could be seen rising from the compound. Officials said a mob had been expelled from the compound with three protesters killed.
A spokesman said protesters had been ejected from the embassay in Sudan, adding ‘they didn’t get far’.
Elsewhere, police have fired on protesters outside the US embassy in Yemen today as a group of 2,000 attempted to march on the compound.
Libya closed its air space over Benghazi airport temporarily because of heavy anti-aircraft fire by Islamists aiming at U.S. reconnaissance drones flying over the city, after President Barack Obama vowed to bring the ambassador’s killers to justice.
It adds to unrest in Bangladesh where tens of thousands have taken to the streets, and India – where there are widespread protests in Muslim Kashmir.
In Egypt’s contested Sinai region, a mob stormed an international peacekeeping base injuring two Colombian troops while troops fired on protesters in Nigeria.
Scroll down for video of the KFC attack
Ban the film: A protester goads police, left, as another attempts to throw a tear gas canister back at police, right. As the clashes continued, the country’s president Hosni Mubarak begged for calm a day after Barack Obama issued a veiled warning to the region’s leaders to quell the violence
Second day of clashes: The protesters were met by a wall of heavily-armed riot police who fired tear gas into the growing crowds in a bid to keep them at bay, throwing stones back into the crowds
A riot policeman shouts a warning to stone-throwing protesters during clashes along a road which leads to the US embassy, near Tahrir Square in Cairo, yesterday
Cairo: An Egyptian protester carries away another demonstrator overcome by exposure to tear gas during clashes near the United States Embassy
Protesters clashed with police near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, where one demonstrator was killed. Two Islamist preachers in Egypt told worshippers that those who made the movie deserved to die under Islamic law but they urged protesters not to take their anger out on diplomats.
Sudanese police were reportedly fighting back up to five thousand protesters who had gathered outside the building in the North African country’s capital Khartoum. It is unclear how many staff were inside the mission, or whether they are all accounted for.
The same group have already stormed inside and set fire to the German embassy next door, before tearing down its national flag and hoisting the Islamic banner.
Since a 14-minute trailer for the movie, called The Innocence of Muslims, was posted on YouTube by its American producers, turmoil has spread across the Muslim world.
Hillary Clinton today called the film ‘ an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with’.
Protests have erupted in a string of countries across the Middle East and Africa, including Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Bangladesh, Kashmir, Pakistan, Bahrain, Palestine – as well as the Sudan.
Looting: Lebanese security forces fire shots to disperse men ransacking US fast food chains following riots seen all over the world
Anger: Lebanese men ransack US fast food chains Hardee’s and KFC as they protest against the controversial film “Innocence of Muslims” in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli
Lebanese protesters wave religious flags and shout slogans after Friday prayers as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad
THE BLACK FLAG OF ISLAM
A black flag is said to have been carried by the Prophet Mohammed and is frequently used as a symbol of the Islamic faith.
Many extremist groups have adopted a black flag with white Arabic inscriptions as their symbol.
This variant is commonly known as ‘al-raya’ or ‘ the banner’.
Across the border, thousands of Egyptian protesters advanced on the US embassy near Tahrir Square in Cairo – in scenes potently reminiscent of the violent clashes that ravaged the city’s streets during the Arab uprising last year.
Hurling stones and shouting slogans at the phalanx of heavily-armed riot police that stood in their way, returning fire with volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets in a bid to keep the oncoming crowds at bay.
As the violence continued throughout the day, Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak appealed for calm on live television, a day after Barack Obama issued a veiled warning to the region’s leaders to quell the violence and protect America’s embassies.
The Egyptian authorities had erected large concrete blocks to block the route to the embassy and deployed hundreds of police.
‘Before the police, we were attacked by Obama,’ shouted one demonstrator, blaming U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.S. government for insulting the Prophet.
One banner held aloft by demonstrators read: ‘It is the duty of all Muslims and Christians to kill Morris Sadek and Sam Bacile and everyone who participated in the film.’
Several demonstrators – some bearded Islamists wearing traditional gallabiya robes and others youths and young men in T-shirts and jeans – waved green and black flags with Koranic verses on them.
Smoke rises from the US embassy building in Tunis
Chaos: A car burns in the Tunisian embassy, left while protesters evacuated a wounded comrade
The unrest has raised serious questions over whether the US should cut the billions of dollars in aid it sends to Egypt.
Barack Obama has already issued a veiled warning of possible repercussions if those governments do not quell the unrest and protect America’s embassies.
On the subject of Egypt, which the US currently supplies over $1.5billion in aid, he told Telemundo: ‘I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy.
‘They’re a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident.’
Anger spreads: Demonstrators protest outside the US embassy in Tunisia today
DOMINO PROTESTS: HOW THE UNREST SPREAD THROUGH THE MUSLIM WORLD
- LEBANON – 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.
- SUDAN – Several hundred protesters stormed the German Embassy in the capital, Khartoum, burning a car parked behind its gates and trash cans. Police fired tear gas, pushing the protesters outside the embassy’s gates. There appeared to be no injuries to embassy staff and no apparent damage to the building. Most protesters dispersed, but a group marched to protest at the nearby British Embassy.
- YEMEN – 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 about a block away from the embassy. Friday’s demonstration came a day after hundreds stormed the embassy compound and burned the American flag.
- EGYPT – Riot police clashed with hundreds of protesters blocks away from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, 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.
- IRAN – 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.
- BAHRAIN – More than 2,000 protesters chanted against the film and burned American and Israeli flags after Friday prayers in a Shiite mosque in Diraz, outside the capital, Manama. Security forces were absent, even though the area is a hotbed of opposition in Bahrain’s 19-month Shiite-led uprising against the Sunni ruling system. Separately, Bahrain’s Interior Ministry ordered media regulators to attempt to block access to the film clip in the Gulf kingdom.
- IRAQ – 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 Sadr City, a poor Shiite area in the capital’s northeast. 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.’
- TUNISIA – A crowd of several thousand demonstrators protested outside the US embassy in Tunis. Police respond to stone-throwing with tear gas. An AP reporter on the scene witnessed several people overcome by intense clouds of gas. An army helicopter flew overhead while armored vehicles protected the embassy.
- ISRAEL – 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.
- WEST BANK – In the city of Nablus, about 200 people demonstrated against the film as Muslim clerics throughout the territory preached against it in Friday sermons.
- SYRIA – 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 Mohammad, 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.
- AFGHANISTAN – About 1,500 protested in the eastern city of Jalalabad, shouting ‘Death to America’ and urged President Hamid Karzai to cut relations with the U.S.
- PAKISTAN – 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 prevent protesters from getting to the diplomatic enclave, where the U.S. Embassy and many other foreign missions are located. Protests were also held in Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore, where protesters shouted ‘Down with America’ and some burned the U.S. flag. About 200 policemen and barbed wire ringed the U.S. Consulate in Lahore.
- GREAT BRITAIN – 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.
- TURKEY – Hundreds of people gathered in Istanbul’s Beyazit Square to protest the prophet film. The protest was organized by Turkey’s main Islamist political party, Saadet.
- MALAYSIA – 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.
And in an ominous sign this morning, the Libyan government closed the air space above Benghazi ‘for security measures’.
In the Lebanese city of Tripoli, hundreds of protesters set fire to a branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken, while chanting: ‘No More insults to Islam.’
There, one demonstrator was killed and two others were wounded as they tried to storm a government building.
In Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, around 10,000 Muslims from half a dozen Islamist groups staged a noisy protest, burning and trampling American flags while chanting anti-US slogans.
Yesterday, thousands of demonstrators engaged in running street battles with police in Egyptian capital Cairo, burning cars and hurling stones while an angry mob stormed the American consulate in Sanaa, in Yemen.
In Libyan capital Benghazi, a similar demonstration was reportedly hijacked by heavily-armed Muslim extremists resulting in the deaths of several Libyan security guards.
America is still reeling from an attack on Tuesday that saw a hoard of protesters storm the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing the ambassador and three American security guards.
Come and get me: Protestors clash with riot police forces who fired tear gas and rubber bullets, left, and an officer taunts a rioter, right
Despite the belief that the militants who hit the consulate did so separately from the protests over the film, US officials are deeply concerned that extremists may again take advantage of non-violent demonstrations to copycat the Benghazi raid.
Meanwhile, a top Israeli Arab Knesset official Talab el-Sana warned of ‘Armageddon’ if the United Nations does not intervene, telling The Times of Israel: ‘If the UN does not mobilize to stop this erosion, it will be Armageddon.’
Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood have called for demonstrations after Friday prayers as did authorities in Iran and the Gaza strip.
Large protests were also expected in Baghdad and Iraq’s second-largest city, Basra, as well as Amman, Jordan. Israel was stepping up security in anticipation of demonstrations after Muslim prayers.
‘It is important to note that as these protests are taking place in different countries around the world, responding to the movie, that Friday, tomorrow, has historically been a day when there are protests in the Muslim world,’ White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters in Colorado.’And we are watching very closely for developments that could lead to more protests. We anticipate that they may continue.’
The offending short video behind the unrest was made by an American company and spoofs the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad.
But the White house was quick yesterday to condemn its content and its anonymous makers.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered an explicit denunciation of the video as the administration sought to pre-empt further turmoil at its embassies and consulates.
‘The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,’ she said before a meeting with the foreign minister of Morocco at the State Department. ‘We absolutely reject its content and message.’
‘To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible,’ Clinton said. ‘It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage.’
While rejecting the content of the video, Clinton stressed that no matter how offensive it is, the film cannot be used as an excuse for violence like that seen in Egypt, where a mob breached the walls of the US Embassy in Cairo on Wednesday, and in Yemen, where demonstrators tried to storm the embassy compound in Sanaa on Thursday.
‘There is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence,’ Clinton said.
‘We condemn the violence that has resulted in the strongest terms. … It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. These are places whose very purpose is peaceful: to promote better understanding across countries and cultures.’
She then reminded foreign governments that they have a responsibility to protect embassies.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon followed suit, adding: ‘The hateful film that appears to have been deliberately designed to sow bigotry and bloodshed.’
The intelligence leading up to the attacks will be examined to ‘see if there was any way of forecasting this violence,’ as in any violent incident, House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in an interview Thursday.
But he said the focus now ‘has to be on finding out who is responsible and bringing them to justice.’
US officials said they suspect that the attack at the Benghazi consulate, which had also been the target of an unsuccessful attack in June, may have been only tangentially related to the film.
They also stressed there had been no advance warning or intelligence to suggest a threat in Libya that would warrant boosting security, even on the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
‘As we did with all of our missions overseas, in advance of the September 11 anniversary and as we do every year, we did evaluate the threat stream and we determined that the security at Benghazi was appropriate for what we knew,’ State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
President Barack Obama, speaking a campaign event in Golden, Colorado, also vowed that the perpetrators would be punished.
‘I want people around the world to hear me,’ he said. ‘To all those who would do us harm: No act of terror will go unpunished. I will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.’
As of Thursday morning, there was no intelligence indicating that what happened in Benghazi was planned, according to two U.S. officials briefed on the investigation into the attack. Intelligence officials said they believe it’s more likely that the attack was ‘opportunistic or spontaneous,’ with militants taking advantage of the demonstration to launch the assault.
Bloodshed again: This morning’s scenes were potently reminiscent of the violent clashes that ravaged Cairo’s streets during the Arab uprising last year.
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