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Film violence spreads to Afghanistan and Pakistan

Thousands have taken to the streets, burning cars and chanting "death to America" in the latest demonstrations inspired by "Innocence of Muslims." A total of 17 people have died in violence linked to the film.

After violence flared near fortified housing compounds for foreign workers in the Afghan capital Kabul, the US and British embassies, among others, were placed on lockdown on Monday.

The violence is the latest in protests sparked by the video, which portrays the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer and a fool.

"It would appear that there is some leveling off on the violence that we thought might take place," US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters on his plane en route to Asia on Saturday. "Having said that, these demonstrations are likely to continue over the next few days, if not longer."

The United States and Germany both ordered nonessential staff and family members to leave their Sudan embassies over the weekend. Nonessential US personnel have also been withdrawn from Tunisia.

Protests show no sign of stopping

In neighboring Pakistan, thousands also took to the streets to condemn the film, burning US flags and chanting slogans, as police warned of more protests nationwide. In the northwestern city of Peshawar, 3,000 university students, teachers and employees marched after boycotting classes, police said. Peaceful protests against the film were held in more than a dozen cities across Pakistan.

In Indonesia, protesters hurled petrol bombs and clashed with police outside the US Embassy in the first film-related violence in the world's largest Muslim nation. Hundreds had protested over the weekend, but until Monday demonstrations had remained largely peaceful there. Police dispersed the crowd of several hundred with water cannons and warning shots.

mkg/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP)