Crowd Storms US Embassy in Yemen as Regional Anger Burns

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Common Dreams

Crowd Storms US Embassy in Yemen as Regional Anger Burns

Outrage over anti-Islam film persists across Middle East

by
Common Dreams staff

Thousands of angry protesters stormed the US embassy in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, on Thursday. The crowd was able to breach the outer wall of the heavily-fortified compound, burning an American flag and pulling a large sign down from the building.

Tensions were high, and possibly rising, across the Middle East on Thursday as large crowds of protesters, angered by an amateur anti-Muslim film produced in the US, also gathered angrily outside US embassies or in the streets in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, and Gaza.

Following attacks on Tuesday in Benghazi, Libya that left four US consulate staff dead, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the fury over the film and US policy in the region has now spread.

Al-Jazeera Arabic has video Sanaa:

Al-Jazeera reports:

Protesters angered by an anti-Islam film have stormed the US embassy compound in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, as similar demonstrations have spread to several countries across the Middle East.

The protesters on Thursday removed the embassy's sign on the outer wall and brought down the US flag and burned it.

A number of diplomatic vehicle were torched as security forces used water cannons and warning shots in a bid to drive them out.

Reuters adds:

Young demonstrators shouting "we redeem, Messenger of God" smashed windows of the security offices outside the embassy with stones and burned cars before breaking through the main gate of the heavily fortified compound in eastern Sanaa. Others held aloft banners declaring 'Allah is Greatest'.

Tyres blazed outside the compound and protesters scaled the walls.

"We can see a fire inside the compound and security forces are firing in the air. The demonstrators are fleeing and then charging back," one witness told Reuters.

Witnesses said there were some injuries on both sides but gave no exact figures.

In Egypt, as the Associated Press reports, protesters were clashing with police near the U.S. Embassy in the capital Cairo for the third day in a row.

CNN reports:

Demonstrators threw rocks and Molotov cocktails as police tried to disperse them by firing tear gas canisters from police vehicles as they drove through Tahrir Square, near the embassy. [...]
Wednesday night's protest turned violent as demonstrators threw rocks and pushed through barbed wire fencing outside the embassy, according to [Alla Mahmoud, a spokesman for the Egyptian Interior Ministry]. Two police trucks and a car were set afire.

"Forces were able to push them down toward Tahrir Square farther from embassy street," Mahmoud said, adding that some arrests had been made.

Many of the protesters chanted anti-U.S. slogans. By early Thursday, protesters had been pushed 100 yards from the embassy, said journalist Ian Lee in Cairo.

Report from Tunisia:

Tunisian police fired teargas and rubber bullets into the air today to disperse a protest over a US-made film depicting the Prophet Mohammad near the US Embassy in the capital Tunis, reporters said.

Around 200 protesters, many of whom with long beards and wearing robes, threw rocks at the police, burned US flags and chanted slogans such as "Obama, Obama, we are here for the triumph of Islam" and "Mohammad is the master of creation".

Police chased the protesters away while Tunisian army soldiers guarded the embassy building. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

And from Gaza:

Dozens of Palestinians in Gaza Strip on Wednesday burned an American flag in front of the United Nations headquarters to protest a U.S. film mocking the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

About 100 members of the militant group Popular Resistance Committees chanted anti-American slogans and called for the death of the California filmmaker behind the movie.

“We call upon Arab and Islamic countries to expel American ambassadors until Obama administration apologizes to Muslims around the world,” said one protester, who would only identify himself as Abu Mussab.

Leaders of Hamas, which controls Gaza Strip, called for more protest on Friday.

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