US embassy staff on high alert across the world
protesters attacked the US embassies in Yemen and Egypt yesterday in another day of anger at a film they consider blasphemous to Islam.
Hundreds of Yemenis broke through the main gate of the compound in the capital Sanaa, shouting “We sacrifice ourselves for you, Messenger of God”. They smashed windows of security offices outside the embassy and burned cars.
A security source said at least 15 people were injured, some by gunfire, before the Yemeni government ringed the area with troops. An embassy spokesman said its personnel were safe.
In Egypt, protesters hurled stones at a police cordon around the US embassy in central Cairo after climbing into the embassy compound and tearing down the American flag. The state news agency said 13 people were hurt in violence that erupted late on Wednesday, following initial protests on Tuesday.
US president Barack Obama said security was being increased at US diplomatic stations around the globe. Nigeria put police on high alert and stepped up security around all foreign missions, fearing an Islamist backlash, possibly after weekly prayers today. Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi said yesterday he backed peaceful protest but not attacks on embassies. Mr Morsi is being carefully watched by Washington, with the US acutely aware that a country to which it still gives $2 billion (£1.24bn) a year in military aid is now under new management.
“Expressing opinion, freedom to protest and announcing positions is guaranteed, but without assaulting private or public property, diplomatic missions or embassies,” said Mr Morsi.
He pledged to protect foreigners in Egypt, a comment he repeated in Brussels, where he was making his first European trip to build ties with European Union states. The EU offered Egypt economic aid of up to €700 million (£560m).
Mr Obama told reporters Egypt’s Islamist-led government should not be considered an American ally “but we don’t consider them an enemy”.
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said the film was “disgusting” and that the US government had nothing to do with it.
Mr Morsi also needs to address the anger over the film, which portrays the Propet as a philanderer and a religious fake.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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