Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

Tunisian protesters burn a US flag bearing a portrait of US actress Marylin Monroe during a demonstration against a film deemed offensive to Islam, outside the US embassy in Tunis on 12 September 2012. (Photo: AFP - Khalil)

Friday, September 14, 2012

An amateur US-made Internet video portraying the prophet Mohammad as a womanizer, while touching on themes of paedophilia and homosexuality, has sparked anti-US protests across the Middle East.

The violence has already claimed the lives of the US ambassador to Libya, three other Americans and 10 Libyan security officers.

Follow our live coverage as we track Friday after-prayer protests.

Show oldest updates on top.
  • Wrap up

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    09:22pm

    It appears that most of the protests across the region have settled down as we wrap up coverage on this fourth day of rage over the inflammatory film. A summary of today's events:

    • Several are injured in separate Egypt protests in Cairo and the Sinai
    • Roughly 150 protesters gathered outside the US Embassy in London where they burn US and Israeli flags
    • Nigerian security fired live ammunition to disperse protesters outside a mosque
    • Indian police arrested 86 people after protesters smashed through windows at a US consulate
    • 50 US Marines arrived to Yemen's capital Sana to protect its embassy where several protesters were killed yesterday
    • Thousands protested in Tunis where they broke into the US Embassy and attacked it with petrol bombs. Clashes with security left at least two dead
    • At least 5,000 protested in Khartoum where clashes left at least two dead as they attempted to storm the US Embassy
    • About 2,000 protested in Amman where they burned US flags
    • The GCC has condemned both the film and the violent response
    • Thousands of Palestinians protested in the West Bank and Gaza with Israeli police attacking demonstrators in Jerusalem
    • Protests across the Islamic world from Indonesia and Bangladesh, to Sudan and Bahrain
    • Afghan protesters burnt an effigy of US President Barack Obama, while most protests across the region burnt Israeli and US flags
    • One person was killed at a fiery protest in Tripoli, Lebanon, with 25 others wounded, after a mob ransacked a local KFC franchise
    • Protesters in Khartoum stormed the German and British embassies, inflicting significant damage on the properties
    • The producer of the film, a 55-year-old Egyptian-American, said he has no regrets about making the video
    • Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi said the protests were a distraction from the "real problems" facing the region, such as Syria and Palestine.
    • Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood cancelled nationwide protests
    • YouTube has blocked access to the video in India, Google announced

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 21:22

  • Egyptian Bedouins protest

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    08:48pm

    Egypt's Bedouins joined the protests as they broke through a fence of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) compound in the Sinai and set fire to an observation tower in which two Colombians and and Egyptian were injured.

    They also set fire to a car inside the compound which lies in the town of Al-Goura, 10 kilometers (around six miles) from the Gaza Strip.

    The mission was set up to monitor the 1979 Egyptian/Israeli peace treaty, and includes contingents from 12 countries.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 20:48

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  • Egypt protesters spar with police

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    08:14pm

    Egyptian crowds gathered outside the US Embassy in Cairo despite the Muslim Brotherhood's cancellation of the today's planned protests.

    Police were erected a concrete wall around the embassy and blocked roads with barbed wire.

    Clashes left several protesters injured.

    "There is tear gas everywhere, and people are shutting up their shopfronts to block themselves off as the crowd escapes," RT's Paula Slier reported

    .

    Photo: Reuters - Amr Abdallah Dalsh

    Photo: Reuters - Amr Abdallah Dalsh

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 20:14

  • Protests in London

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    07:49pm

    It seems the protests have reached Europe with demonstrators desecrating US and Israeli flags in London:

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 19:49

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  • Another Sudanese protester found dead

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    07:32pm

    AFP is reporting that a second protester was found dead outside the US embassy in Sudan's capital Khartoum. Other media say four have been killed in today's violence at the embassy.

    Security is saying that protesters briefly scaled the walls of the embassy, but were quickly pushed back.

    "They were all expelled. They didn't get far," a spokesman at the embassy said.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 19:32

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  • Protesters break into US Embassy in Tunis

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    07:19pm

    Protesters managed to break into the compound of the US embassy in Tunis on Friday, undeterred by volleys of tear gas and warning shots fired by security forces.

    Two were killed in the violence.

    The demonstrators, acting aggressively, managed to clamber over one of the walls round the mission, near the car park where several vehicles had been set ablaze.

    Petrol bombs, thought to have started the blaze, were thrown at a separate part of the sprawling embassy compound, causing another fire there as security forces continued to fire tear gas and warning shots.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 19:19

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  • Army disperses protesters in Nigeria

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    06:58pm

    The protests have reached Nigeria where soldiers fired live rounds in the air to disperse a crowd of several hundred demonstrators outside a mosque in the city of Jos.

    Army Captain Salihu Mustapha said:

    "The soldiers had to fire some warning shots in the air, but there were no casualties... The placards they were carrying were denouncing America."

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 18:58

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  • India arrests

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    06:29pm

    Indian police have arrested 86 people after a group of several hundred Muslim protesters threw stones and smashed windows at the US consulate in the Indian city of Chennai.

    The violence flared during a protest organised by the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam.

    The protesters also burnt an effigy of US President Barack Obama and an American flag, police said.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 18:29

  • US sends marines to Yemen

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    06:11pm

    Washington has dispatched US Marines from the Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team to the Yemeni capital Sanaa to protect its embassy, as protesters push on the premises.

    "A FAST platoon is now on the ground in Sanaa," Pentagon spokesperson George Little told reporters, describing the deployment of the 50-strong unit as a "precautionary step" amid anti-American unrest in the Middle East.

    Despite boosting security, the Pentagon said there were no plans as yet to evacuate the embassy.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 18:11

  • US embassy breached in Sudan

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    05:49pm

    The US embassy in Khartoum has been breached, according to the AFP and Al Jazeera.

    Protesters have moved inside the security perimeter of the embassy, with guards on the roof firing warning shots.

    One Sudanese demonstrator has been killed, according to AFP, while Al Jazeera has put the death toll at three.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 17:49

  • Tunisia protest

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    05:47pm

    Hundreds of Tunisian protesters are reportedly clashing with police at the front of the US embassy in Tunis.

    Al Jazeera is reporting Salafi extremists as having entered the US embassy car park, setting fire to a number of vehicles.

    Meanwhile, back in Khartoum, one Sudanese demonstrator was killed when a police vehicle charged protesters near the US embassy.

    Protesters in Khartoum stormed the German and British embassies, causing significant damage to the German compound.

    German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle condemned the "hate video" mocking the Prophet Mohammed but said it was no excuse for an attack on his country's embassy.

    "I condemn the anti-Islamic hate video but still this cannot be a justification for the outbreak of violence. This violence must stop immediately."

    "The German embassy in Khartoum is currently the target of attacks by violent demonstrators. The embassy staff are safe. The crisis cell at the foreign ministry (in Berlin) is meeting and is in contact with the embassy."

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 17:47

  • Summary of today's events

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    05:30pm

    Summary of today's events so far:

    • Protests across the Islamic world from Indonesia and Bangladesh, to Sudan and Bahrain
    • Protests have varied in numbers, with several hundred in Pakistan, to at least 5,000 in Khartoum. Afghan protesters burnt an effigy of US President Barack Obama, while most protests across the region burnt Israeli and US flags
    • One person was killed at a fiery protest in Tripoli, Lebanon, with 25 others wounded, after a mob ransacked a local KFC franchise
    • Protesters in Khartoum stormed the German and British embassies, inflicting significant damage on the properties
    • The producer of the film, a 55-year-old Egyptian-American, said he has no regrets about making the video
    • Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi said the protests were a distraction from the "real problems" facing the region, such as Syria and Palestine.
    • Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood cancelled nationwide protests
    • YouTube has blocked access to the video in India, Google announced

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 17:30

  • Mursi and Palestine

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    05:10pm

    Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi said the protests were a distraction from the "real problems" of the Middle East, such as Syria and the Palestinians.

    "We cannot accept this type of aggression and attempt to sow discord. These irresponsible actions yield no good and draw attention away from real problems like the conflict in Syria, the fate of the Palestinians and the lack of stability in the Middle East," Mursi said during a visit to Rome.

    "We do not accept the killing of innocent people or attacks against embassies. All governments have the obligation to defend diplomatic missions.... We reject with maximum determination any type of aggression."

    "The Egyptian people are moving towards the world. They are opening their doors to East and West. All the doors are open."

    "Islam respects other religions. It aims to protect freedom and respect human rights. That is what the Quran says."

    Palestine protests

    Palestinian protestsPhoto: AFP - Mohammed Abed

    Meanwhile, protests were also staged in Gaza and the West Bank today, with Israeli police attacking Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem.

    Thousands rallied in Gaza, with crowds chanting "Death, death to America, death, death to Israel."

    Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said:

    "The US administration should apologise to the Arab and Islamic nation for this offensive film and bring these criminals to justice."

    Haniyeh said the film was the result of "a Jewish-American-Crusader alliance to ignite a war on Islam and sectarian strife, particularly in Egypt."

    Several hundred protesters marched against the film after prayers at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, before Israeli forces fired tear gas at a section of the crowd.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 17:10

  • Afghan protests

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    04:57pm

    Afghan protesters set fire to an effigy of US President Barack Obama and burnt American flags in the province of Jalalabad. Hundreds turned out in various cities across the occupied country.

    Afghan protesters burn effigy of ObamaPhoto: Reuters - Parwiz

    Clerics in the Shinwari tribe called for a $100,000 bounty on the head of the producer of the anti-Islam film, while crowds chanted "Death to America", and "death to the enemies of Islam."

    An influential cleric also accused American Jews of being behind the film.

    "This is the work of American Jews, their movie has hurt the sentiments of Muslims around the world," Enayatullah Baleegh told several thousand worshippers at the Pul-e-Khishti mosque in central Kabul.

    "These two Jews and President Obama should be held accountable for the death of their diplomats, because it shows the incompetency of the Obama administration and that he could not control such an insulting act," said the cleric.

    Washington would be greatly concerned over Taliban attempts to use the latest furor to up attacks against US occupation forces in the country.

    Taliban yesterday urged revenge against US forces in Afghanistan over the film.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 16:57

  • Google blocks YouTube video in India

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    04:47pm

    Google has announced that YouTube has blocked access to the anti-Islam Internet video in India.

    "We do, at times, block content in response to a court order or other valid legal process. We have blocked access to the YouTube page in the Indian domain," a Google executive, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

    Blocking content that could be used to incite violence on social media sites has long been a source of contentious debate.

    Facebook last month deleted the pages of Hezbollah and its TV-affiliate Al-Manar under the pretext of 'inciting violence.'

    In the current context, under which category does insulting religion fall - 'free speech' or 'inciting violence'?

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 16:47

  • GCC condemns film, response

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    04:42pm

    The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has condemned both the film and the violent response that it has triggered across the region.

    GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani today said:

    "This film cannot be accepted or excused as it abuses the feelings of Muslims and non-Muslims who reject insulting prophets, religions and beliefs."

    Bahrain has joined some Arab governments in blocking websites that carry the film.

    Protests in Bahrain:Photo: AFP - Mohammed al Shaikh

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 16:42

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  • Pakistan protests

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    04:40pm

    Hundreds have rallied in cities across Pakistan, with Islamist groups organizing a number of protests.

    Pakistan protestsPhoto: AFP - Arif Ali

    In the eastern city of Lahore, Hafiz Saeed, head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity led a 500-strong rally against the film.

    Saeed – who has a $10 million US government bounty on him – urged the Pakistan government to summon the US ambassador to protest over the film.

    "We condemn this conspiracy of producing (an) anti-Islam film. Such blasphemous acts are intentional conspiracies from the US and we will not tolerate it," he told the rally.

    Pakistan protestsPhoto: AFP - Arif Ali

    Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) organized a rally in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, where around 700 party activists and supporters gathered with banners and placards bearing anti-US and anti-Israel slogans.

    "Hang the filmmaker...hang the apostate," they chanted.

    "Jihad is the only treatment to cure American cancer," another slogan said.

    Around 400 protesters also rallied in front of Islamabad's Red Mosque after Friday prayers, following a call from JI.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 16:40

  • Jordan Islamists protest anti-Islam film

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    04:20pm

    The protests have also spread throughout Jordan, with about 2,000 demonstrating in Amman alone.

    About 400 Salafis demonstrated near the US embassy carrying black flags with the message: "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is his messenger."

    "Listen (US President Barack) Obama, all of us are Osama (bin Laden)," they chanted.

    "We sacrifice our soul and blood for the prophet," they said as they torched US flags.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 16:20

  • Sudan, Yemen

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    04:15pm

    At least 5,000 protesters in the Sudanese capital Khartoum stormed the embassies of Britain and Germany.

    The German embassy is reported torched and badly damaged, with several protesters scaling the roof of the compound.

    Others attacked the facade and tore down the German flag to replace it with a black Islamist one, according to an AFP report.

    Khartoum clashes outside the German embassyPhoto: AFP - Ashraf Shazly

    In Yemen, protesters were still trying to reach the US embassy, but were being met with riot police and water cannons.

    Germany has become an Islamist target due to Chancellor Angela Merkel gifting an award to Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in 2010.

    Westergaard was behind a 2008 caricature of the prophet Mohammad, which sparked outrage in the Islamic world.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 16:15

  • Mob burns down KFC in Tripoli

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    03:44pm

    One person has died and 25 injured during fiery protests numbering roughly 300 in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. The violence mostly occurred in front of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

    A mob ransacked then burnt down a Tripoli branch of the US-based Kentucky Friend Chicken to protest the film, before security forces intervened.

    Groups of men were fighting with stone and rocks, according to an Al-Akhbar correspondent in Tripoli.

    (Photo: AFP)

    Photo: AFP

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 15:44

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  • Pics of protests

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    02:43pm

    Some images of anti-US protests from various parts of the Islamic world:

    Indian KashmirPhoto: AFP - Rouf Bhat

    IndiaPhoto: AFP - Narinder Nanu

    IndonesiaPhoto: AFP - Bay Ismoyo

    IraqPhoto: AFP - Ramzi al-Shaban

    KuwaitPhoto: Reuters - Stephanie Mcgehee

    LebanonPhoto: AFP - Mahmoud Zayyat

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 14:43

  • Malaysian protests

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    02:21pm

    Dozens of Malaysian Muslims have held peaceful protests across the country, including a march to the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

    Malaysian protestsPhoto: AFP - Kamarul Akhir

    "They have insulted the Prophet Mohammad, portraying him as a sex maniac and gay," said demonstrator Aminuddin Yahya.

    A delegation representing Islamic groups at the protest in the capital handed a memo to a US embassy official, requesting that Washington try the filmmakers.

    A crowd also held a demonstration at the Batu Caves, a popular tourist spot outside the capital, and Malaysian media reported another protest in the northern city of Ipoh.

    The opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party said protests would be held at other cities around the country, and so far there were no reports of violence.

    Roughly 60 percent of Malaysians are Muslim, with sizable Hindu and Christian minorities.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 14:21

  • Producer has no regrets

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    02:12pm

    Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the 55-year-old Egyptian-American allegedly responsible for producing the video, has said he has no regrets.

    "No, I do not regret it. I am saddened by the killing of the ambassador but I do not regret making it," Nakoula told American Arabic-language Radio Sawa.

    "I am the one who leaked the 14 minutes and put it on the Internet and I am thinking about releasing the full film. Nobody manipulated my film,"

    "Yes, I feel guilty (about violence against US citizens). America has nothing to do with this subject and is suffering the consequences of a film that has nothing to do with it."

    "I had published a book in 1994 (on Islam) and it impressed certain parties who asked me if I could turn this book into a movie and this is what I did."

    "I have a message for the whole world and not for Muslims. I hope that you watch the movie in full before you judge it."

    Nakoula described himself as "an Arab thinker interested in Islamic affairs."

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 14:12

  • Pope lands in Lebanon

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    02:01pm

    Pope Benedict XVI has landed in Lebanon, and is currently being welcomed at a ceremony at Beirut international airport.

    The pope arrives to Lebanon amid widespread anti-US protests in the region, testy Muslim-Christian relations and a civil war next door in Syria.

    Benedict's visit is significantly symbolic for Christians in Lebanon and Syria, who largely fear the consequences of the Syrian civil war.

    Follow our news coverage of his trip.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 14:01

  • Wreath for US ambassador

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    01:53pm

    President of Libya's General National Congress, Mohammad al-Magariaf, pictured here laying a wreath at the US Ambassador residence in Benghazi today.

    Wreath for US ambassadorPhoto: AFP - Gianluigi Guercia

    Seemingly disappearing from news coverage are the ten Libyan security officers who died trying to defend the ambassador and the US consulate from attack.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 13:53

  • Columnists

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    01:39pm

    What our columnists have said so far:

    As'ad AbuKhalil:

    In the war between secularists and fanatics, the US is squarely on the side of the reactionaries and fanatics: from Saudi Arabia to Libya. And when former allies of the US turn against it, as did some of the fanatics of the mujahideen in Afghanistan; the US is shocked and confused.

    Did NATO not know who they were supporting or arming in Libya? Or did they rely on the same CIA men, who are now at the border between Syria and Turkey, to screen good guys from bad guys before they dump the millions in cash and in equipment? Did NATO think that the fanatic militant religious extremists who received US support in the war on Libya will repent and change course once the Gaddafi regime was overthrown? Did they assume that the fanatic groups would abandon their ideology in gratitude for NATO’s help?

    Sarah el-Sirgany:

    Unlike the rest of these stories, Innocence of Muslims was an instant winner. The so-called film would have gone unnoticed, tucked away among the millions of YouTube clips. But thanks to the free publicity provided by the conservative groups and their active utilization of social networks, Egypt learnt about the film – with initial anger to Egypt’s Christian community.

    And as ridiculously as Egypt’s Christians felt compelled to distance themselves from and condemn the film, now Muslims have to do the same with the killing. Egypt’s Copts were not responsible for the film and shouldn’t have apologized for it. Muslims, including myself, shouldn’t spend their lives apologizing for the acts of extremists. But this is how it goes, and once again we are stuck in damage control rather than working on building and reinforcing bridges.

    Karl Sharro:

    The fact of the matter is that by intervening in Libya the US supported, and probably armed, groups that are intrinsically opposed to it and its regional role. That outcome was discounted when the decision to intervene in Libya was taken, but more crucially the US failed to push for consolidating power and weapons in Libya in a manner that would guarantee its interests and protect its presence there. The intelligence failure to detect threats against Americans is indicative of a wider decline of US influence and ability to control events.

    The events of the past few years should have dispelled the myth of the grand American scheme for the Middle East, yet many continue to subscribe to an outdated and discredited idea that has been proven wrong over and over again. The reality is that the US has pursued arbitrary, and often contradictory, policy aims in the region for a number of years and the trend seems to continue. At the heart of this is the US’ inability to determine what its long-term interests in the region are and how it can guarantee them with minimal use of force.

    Vijay Prashad:

    Frustration with the West is commonplace amongst sections of society, who are not Gaddafi loyalists, but on the contrary fought valiantly in the 2011 civil war against Gaddafi. The NATO intervention did not mollify a much more fundamental grievance they have against the US-UK, namely the sense of humiliation of the Arab world against the arrogance of Western domination in cultural and political terms.

    t is too early to make a full judgment about the attack on the US consulate. Details are slowly emerging about the nature of the protest and the firing of the grenade at the consular building itself. But it is not too early to assert that the protest emerged out of a long-standing sense of humiliation and anger, at the sanctification of Islamophobia in the West and at the failure of the political institutions in the new North Africa to take into consideration the sacrifices and the programs of the Islamists.

    Antoun Issa:

    Despite Western intervention in Libya to oust Gaddafi, the Arab street remains unconvinced that the US is genuinely interested in the democratic, social and economic development of the Arab world. Such misgivings are justified, given nearly half a century of US support for autocratic regimes, continued backing of Gulf monarchies, a hypocritical stance towards the Bahraini uprising, and — the core of all Arab discontent — its unwavering support for Israel.

    Anti-Americanism, thus, remains a constant in the Arab world, and easily exploited by extremist groups when necessary, as the latest fiery protests concerning the anti-Muslim US film show. The mood of the Arab street was previously of little concern to the US, which relied on local dictators to suppress all sign of discontent. The Arab Spring has changed those rules, and US policy in the Middle East has failed to grasp the rapid changes taking place in the region.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 13:39

  • Bangladesh protests

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    01:20pm

    Spreading into the subcontinent, roughly 10,000 protesters came out in force in Bangladesh on Friday.

    "God is Great", "Smash the black hands of Jews" and "We won't tolerate insult to our great prophet" were among the chants outside the Baitul Mokarram Mosque, the country's largest, after weekly prayers.

    So far largely peaceful, but high levels of anger, as seen by the below image of burning US and Israeli flags.

    Bangladesh protestsBangladeshi Muslims burn a US flag and an Israeli flag as they shout slogans during a protest in front of National Press Club in Dhaka 14 September 2012. (Photo: Reuters - Andrew Biraj)

    Protesters tried to reach the US embassy, but were denied by riot police and water cannons.

    "It was peaceful. We blocked their procession after they marched more than a mile," local police chief Golam Sarwar told AFP.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 13:20

  • Muslim Brotherhood cancels nationwide protests

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    01:11pm

    Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has announced on Twitter that it is cancelling nationwide protests.

    The Brotherhood's intention was probably to show that Islamists can protest peacefully, in the wake of the more violent demonstrations in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

    Is the cancellation sign that even the Brotherhood can't contain the furor?

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 13:11

  • Turkish PM condemns film

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    01:05pm

    Echoing similar statements from regional heads, Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken out against the US-made amateur video, but said it should not serve as a pretext for violence.

    "This is a strong provocation against our way of life."

    "Insulting the prophet cannot be justified as freedom of expression. Religion and the prophet are sacred values and are untouchable."

    "It cannot be a reason for innocent people to be attacked or harmed.

    "This is justified by nothing and above all not by Islam. No-one can, in the name of Islam, carry out actions of the kind that happened in Libya with the attack on the US mission."

    "Legal and peaceful protest by Muslims is a useful and correct thing. But a protest cannot envisage any kind of violence or terrorism."

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 13:05

  • Protests in Baghdad

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    12:24pm

    Furious protesters in Baghdad's Tahrir square demonstrate against the film earlier today:

    Baghdad protestsProtesters in Baghdad (Photo: AFP / Ali al Saadi)

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 12:24

  • Four Libyans arrested over killings

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    12:16pm

    Reuters is reporting that four Libyans have been arrested in Benghazi over the attack that killed the four US diplomats including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

    “Four men are in custody and we are interrogating them because they are suspected of helping instigate the events at the US Consulate,” Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Wanis Sharif told Reuters.

    Benghazi was the birthplace of the US-backed uprising that led to the overthrow of former leader Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule over the country, all the more reason why Tuesday's attack came as a shock to the White House.

    Al-Akhbar columnist As'ad Abukhalil wrote that "the killers were probably fighting alongside NATO only a few months ago."

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 12:16

  • Muslim Brotherhood v US

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    11:57am

    The Muslim Brotherhood's deputy Khairat el-Shater wrote in a letter to the New York Times that the US was not to blame for the film:

    Despite our resentment of the continued appearance of productions like the anti-Muslim film that led to the current violence, we do not hold the American government or its citizens responsible for acts of the few that abuse the laws protecting freedom of expression," he wrote in the letter.

    In a new democratic Egypt, Egyptians earned the right to voice their anger over such issues, and they expect their government to uphold and protect their right to do so.

    The breach of the United States Embassy premises by Egyptian protesters is illegal under international law. The failure of the protecting police force has to be investigated.

    But the US embassy in Cairo doesn't appear to be buying the Brotherhood's efforts, if this tweet is anything to go by:

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 11:57

  • Yemen protesters gather

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    11:51am

    Around 20 to 30 Yemeni protesters have gathered near the US embassy in the capital Sanaa, carrying signs saying "Anything but the Messenger of God."

    Yemeni security forces have been deployed in the streets near the US embassy, determined to stop protesters from reaching the compound, according to a Reuters witness.

    Angry protesters briefly stormed the US compound yesterday before police drove them out. Four Yemenis died in the process.

    Larger protests after Friday prayers are anticipated.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 11:51

  • Egypt clashes begin

    Live Blog: Anti-US protests rock Middle East

    11:46am

    Clashes in Egypt have already begun, even before scheduled protests by the Muslim Brotherhood after Friday prayers.

    Reuters is reporting angry protesters throwing rocks at riot police blocking their path to the US embassy.

    One banner held aloft by demonstrators read: "It is the duty of all Muslims and Christians to kill Morris Sadek and Sam Bacile and everyone who participated in the film."

    The crowd was a mixed collection of people – some were bearded Islamists wearing traditional gallabiya robes, but most were youths and young men in T-shirts and jeans.

    Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 11:46

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