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Friday, September 14, 2012

Protests Over Prophet Film Continue To Spread

Palestinian Hamas supporters burn a U.S. flag during a protest in Gaza City, Friday, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. (AP)

BY: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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.

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.

Guest:

  • Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and writer for The Daily Star

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