WASHINGTON - New protests ignited across the Muslim world Friday as anger spread over an anti-Islamic video posted on the Internet. The U.S. and other foreign missions have stepped up security following violent attacks that began Tuesday.
In Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, police fired tear gas at more than a thousand rock-throwing demonstrators. Some of the protesters Friday breached the wall surrounding the U.S. embassy.
Black smoke was seen rising from the embassy parking lot, although it is unclear if the protesters had thrown petrol bombs into the area or had set some cars on fire when they scaled the wall.
The violence also spread to Sudan, where witnesses said police clashed with thousands of protesters heading toward the U.S. embassy. Protesters are also reported to have breached the German embassy.
Hundreds of protesters in Tripoli, Lebanon, set fire to a KFC fast-food restaurant.
Demonstrations continued Friday near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, with protesters throwing rocks at riot police, who responded with tear gas. Egyptian security forces also built a barrier to block the route to the embassy.
Protests were also reported in Malaysia and Indonesia, and security was tight in Kabul, Afghanistan, even though there were no demonstrations.
In Benghazi, where the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other American personnel were killed in an attack Tuesday, security was stepped up around the city and the airport temporarily closed.
U.S. warships are headed to the Libyan coast, while additional U.S. Marine guards were deployed to protect the American embassy in Yemen. Protesters Friday were pushed back from the embassy with water canon and warning shots, after demonstrators breached the wall the day before.
In many Cairo mosques Friday, the video, a crudely-made attempt to mock the Prophet Muhammad, was the topic of the day. One imam reminded worshippers that Egyptians, under their new Islamist government, can now openly defend the prophet from such insults.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has condemned the video. He spoke out again Friday on the need to keep protests in check, saying Egypt will never accept the killing of innocents, or attacks on diplomatic missions or personnel. He added it is every government’s duty, including Egypt’s, to protect ambassadors, missions and tourists.
The appeal for restraint followed what is being described as a frank telephone call overnight between Morsi and President Barack Obama. The Egyptian leader is reported to have brought up the video, while Obama stressed Egypt’s obligation to protect the embassy.
Obama spoke Thursday about the relationship between the U.S. and Egypt.
“I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy,” he said. “They are a new government that’s trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think we have to see how they respond to this incident.”
Libyan officials said Thursday that they have arrested four people in connection with this week’s assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his staff: information technology specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. The officials did not provide details.
American intelligence agencies are examining the alleged involvement of pro-al-Qaida militants.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the amateur U.S.-made movie that mocks the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. She called it “disgusting” and “reprehensible.”
Tracing the Video
A trailer for the anti-Islamic video was posted on YouTube in July. An Arabic-language translation began circulating in the Middle East in recent days. Clips from the movie depict the Prophet Muhammad in a very unflattering light.
The film has been widely condemned across the globe and in the United States.
Called “The Innocence of Muslims,” the film was said to have been produced by a man named Sam Bacile, who told news media he is Israeli-American. A consultant on the film says that name is a pseudonym, and there are suggestions that the man behind the film is an Egyptian Coptic Christian who lives in California. There is no record of the film or its producer in Hollywood reference sources.
Several news organizations have linked the inflammatory film to an Egyptian American, 55-year-old Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who lives in California and once was convicted of bank fraud. Nakoula says he handled logistics for the production.
Another California man who says he served as a consultant, Steve Klein, has given conflicting accounts of the film’s origin and funding. Klein is the founder of anti-Muslim and other hate groups.
Source: VOA News