Anti-US protests spread throughout the Muslim world
Angry demonstrations at an anti-Islam film escalated across the Muslim world on Friday, as protesters smashed into the German and British embassies in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum and stormed the US embassy in Tunis.
- In Tunisia’s capital Tunis, protesters stormed the US embassy and started a large fire inside the compound. Two people were reported dead and 29 injured.
- In Sudan, police used teargas to disperse more than 5,000 protesters who had surrounded the embassies of Britain and Germany in Khartoum. Two people were reported dead.
- Protests took place in the Indian cities of Mumbai and Chennai, where 86 people were arrested.
- A 50-strong unit of US Marines was sent to Yemen and deployed around the US embassy in Sanaa.
- Protests erupted in cities with large Muslim populations in countries as far away as Malaysia, Pakistan, Kenya and Nigeria.
How the day's events unfolded:
8:17pm - The four UN peacekeepers who were wounded in Egypt's Sinai attack are from Colombia, the Associated Press reports.
[In response to Janine: In article “Weeks before U.S. election, Mideast gives Obama perfect storm,” Reuters examines how wave of protests could play out in the US presidential campaign.]
[Reader Janine asks: How will these protests affect the presidential election in USA?]
8pm - In the wake of deadly anti-US protests across Muslim world the White House says automatic spending cuts due to go into effect on January 2 would be “deeply destructive to national security”.
7:58pm - We have been concentrating our coverage on protests in Middle East and North Africa, but there were also protests today in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Kenya. Many did not end in violence.
[In response to comment by Dave: although we have not been informed of counter rallies today, a day after the attack on the US consulate in Libya, local residents held a demonstration to express their support for the US and their indignation at the radical Islamists’ violence. Click here to read that story.]
[Reader ‘Dave’ writes: "Every time there are such incidents we hear mostly Western leaders says it is only a minority of Muslims who are doing such things. Well, let the majority rise up to condemn these riots."]
7:38pm - A senior official with the UN peacekeeping force in Egypt's Sinai says four officers were wounded when their base was attacked.
7:20pm – Tunisia’s state television now changing death toll figures: 2 dead and 29 injured (see previous post).
[Reader asks: Who is to blame for all this violence?]
7:10pm - Tunisian state television is also reporting (see 6:55pm) that there at least 3 dead and 28 wounded after protests outside US embassy in Tunis.
7:10pm - Tunisian police have reportedly dispersed protesters outside the US embassy in Tunis. Earlier in the day protesters breached the compound. For more on that click here.
7:05pm - Ynet News reports that protests broke out in Jerusalem earlier today and that demonstrators who started marching toward the US consulate in the city were deterred by police who used shock grenades against them.
[Participate in this live blog. Write your comments or questions below.]
6:55pm - Reports say riots outside US embassy in Tunisia have left 3 dead and 28 injured.
6:55pm – The AFP news agency is reporting that Egyptian Bedouin have stormed a UN peacekeeper camp in the Sinai region.
6:52pm - Voice of America is reporting that scattered protests in Pakistan and Afghanistan ended today without major incident.
6:35pm – The Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has said he was ‘deeply troubled’ about the attack on the US embassy in Tunis.
6:30pm - For more information specific to fresh rioting in Cairo on Friday, click here
6:28 – A second protester was killed outside the US embassy in Sudan, the AFP news agency reports, citing a witnesses.
6:24pm – The spokesman for the US embassy in Sudan has said protesters who breached the wall of the compound were expelled and that no embassy staff were injured.
6:19pm - The White House says it has received no information to suggest that the attack on the Libyan consulate that killed US ambassador Christopher Stevens was pre-planned. Some reports have questioned if the attack at the Libyan consulate was a reaction to the anti-Islam film, or rather a pre-planned assault set to coincide with the anniversary of September 11 attacks.
6:10pm - The White House has said it has contacted leaders around the world and they are committed to protecting US facilities and personnel. Read FRANCE 24’s Q&A ‘In Arab world, Obama has fallen from grace’.
6pm - For more on the US Marines team sent to Yemen, click here.
5:55pm - Reuters news agency report that a spokesman for the US embassy in Sudan has said that all protesters have been “expelled” from inside the compound.
5:50 - White House has denied reports it had warning of Libya consulate attack, saying it had no “actionable intelligence”
5:46pm – Reuters is reporting that the American school in the Tunisian capital of Tunis which was set on fire on Friday was closed at the time of the attack.
5:43pm – The AFP news agency is reporting that protesters in Tunisia have broken into the US embassy.
5:40pm - The White House has announced that President Obama will go to Andrews Air Force Base (Maryland) on Friday for a ceremony marking the return of remains of four Americans killed in Libya, including US ambassador Christopher Stevens.
5:34 - Nigerian troops have fired shots near a mosque in the city of Jos to disperse protesters there.
5:28pm – The Reuters news agency is reporting that protesters have set fire to an American school in the Tunisian capital of Tunis.
5:25pm – The Marine team that was deployed to Yemen counts around 50 soldiers, the Associated Press reports.
5:18pm – Despite the wave of violence threatening US embassies and staff across the Muslim world, protests in Afghanistan have so far been peaceful. Pentagon spokesman George Little said earlier:
"We're gratified based on what we know now that [Afghan]religious leaders have appealed for non-violent protests, if protests are going to happen.
"For the moment, we have not seen outbursts of violence against our diplomatic installations or our military installations in Afghanistan."
5:15pm - A follow-up to live blog post at 5:05pm: Angry Muslims have also staged protests in Mumbai.
5:10pm - The Associated Press is reporting a “pitched battle” between stone-throwing protesters and police near the US embassy in Tunisia. A large cloud of black smoke has risen from the neighbourhood where the mission is located.
5:05pm - Indian police say they have arrested 86 people after Muslim protesters attacked US consulate in the city of Chennai.
5pm – Statement from Pentagon spokesman George Little to reporters earlier today:
"[Deploying Marine platoon to Sanaa] is partly a response to events over the past two days at our embassy in Yemen but it's also in part a precautionary measure."
4:50pm – According to a Reuters reporters in Tunisia, at least five protesters have been wounded by police gunfire near the US embassy in the capital and a there is a large fire inside the embassy compound.
4:48pm – The Reuters news agency is reporting that the Pentagon has already sent a “fast” Marine platoon to Yemen to boost security at the US embassy in that country. The platoon is already on the ground.
4:45pm – AFP is reporting that US embassy guards have fired shots as Sudanese protesters breached the American embassy’s perimeter.
4:38pm – A United States official has said that a Marine team is being sent to Yemen to deal with the aftermath of the embassy attack in that country.
4:36pm – A Sudanese medic has told the AFP news agency that a protester was killed near the US embassy in Khartoum as police tried to disperse a demonstration.
4:30pm – Eye witnesses have reported that protesters in the Tunisian capital of Tunis have stormed the US embassy there, climbing over the compound’s wall, setting fire to trees and breaking the building's windows.
4:20pm – The following statement is from Seddik Mahmoud Agha, a Sudanese student from South Kordofan, who participated in a protest this afternoon.
"I live in South Kordofan and so I have limited access to the Internet and media. I have not been able to carefully look into this film myself.
What I've seen from this movie is a short video clip that a Sudanese friend living in the US sent me by e-mail. I do not understand English very well but my friend told me that it was a parody made by an American-born Israeli whose purpose was to ridicule Islam and Muslims as well as undermine the prophet Mohammed. And yesterday at the mosque in my neighborhood, I saw a sign inviting the faithful to attend a conference in the evening to explain the content of this film.
[NOTE: US officials have identified the man who produced the video as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian man living in California, who misled US media by telling reporters on the telephone he was an Israeli-American named Sam Bacile]
I am against the use of violence and I condemn what happened in Libya. This only further tarnishes the image of Muslims in the world. That said, I think it is necessary to protest to show the rest of the world that millions of people have been hurt because of this film. I do not know exactly what ideas the film attacked but I find it unacceptable to portray the prophet. Anyway, there must be a good reason why so many people are protesting. Although I have not yet had the time to understand the content of this video, it is my duty to join the protests.”
4pm – Sudanese police used tear gas to try to disperse some 5,000 protesters who surrounded the German and British embassies in the capital of Khartom. Later, journalists working for international news outlets said protesters smashed windows of the German mission and started a fire outside its main gate.
German officials have released a statement saying their embassy staff was safe and condemning the ‘hate video’ that has incited the riots.
(main photo credit: David Thompson)