Protesters in front of the US embassy in Cairo 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
CAIRO - Demonstrators furious at a film they say insults the Prophet
Mohammad clashed with police near the US embassy in Cairo on Friday
before a nationwide protest called by the Muslim Brotherhood which
propelled Egypt's Islamist president to power.
clashed with police in Yemen, where one person died and 15 were injured
on Thursday when the US embassy compound was stormed, and crowds
gathered against the California-made film in Malaysia, Bangladesh and
Iraq. According to Al-Jazeera, protests were also taking place at US
consulates in India and Qatar, while thousands gathered to protest at
the Swiss embassy in Tehran, where US interests are dealt with. Hundreds
tried to reach the US consulate in Jerusalem Friday but were turned away by Israeli police.
The film was blamed for an attack on the US consulate in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi that killed the US ambassador
and three other Americans on Tuesday, the anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001 al-Qaida attacks on the United States.
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.
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.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the video was "unspeakable" but should not be used as an excuse for violence.
appeal this Friday is an appeal for moderation, for calm - and it is
also an appeal to the governments of the affected countries to
strengthen protection of diplomatic missions." Westerwelle told ARD
German television in an interview.
US and other Western embassies
in other Muslim countries have tightened security, fearing anger at the
film may prompt attacks on their compounds after the weekly worship.
protests present US 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.Delicate balance
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 US 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.
Mohamed Morsy, 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. The Muslim Brotherhood called for a peaceful
nationwide protest on Friday.
In Libya, authorities said they
had made four arrests in the investigation into the attack that killed
Ambassador Christopher Stevens. US officials said it may have been
planned in advance - possibly by an al-Qaida-linked group.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington had nothing to do
with the crudely made film posted on the Internet, which she called
"disgusting and reprehensible", and the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs
of Staff called a Christian pastor in Florida to ask him to withdraw his
support for it.
About 300 people protested in Cairo, some waving
flags with religious slogans. State media reported 224 injured since
violence erupted on Wednesday night after a protest in which the embassy
walls were scaled on Tuesday.
"Before the police, we were
attacked by Obama, and his government, and the Coptic Christians living
abroad," shouted one protester, wearing a traditional robe and beard
favored by some ultra-orthodox Muslims, as he pointed at the police
Egypt's Coptic Orthodox church has condemned what it said were Copts abroad who had financed the film.
forces in Yemen fired warning shots and used water cannons against
hundreds of protesters near the US embassy in Sanaa. "Today is your last
day, ambassador!", and "America is the devil", some placards read.
at a campaign rally in Colorado on Thursday, Obama said he had ordered
his administration to do whatever was necessary to protect Americans
abroad and that aides had been in contact with other governments "to let
them know they've got a responsibility to protect our citizens."Jpost.com staff contributed to this report