Demonstrations spread over anti-Islamic film | News | DW | 15.09.2012
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Demonstrations spread over anti-Islamic film

Demonstrations have spread around the world over an anti-Islam film which is widely circulating on the Internet. Meanwhile, the death toll from revenge attacks on Western embassies has risen further.

US President Barack Obama appealed for an end to protests on Saturday as violence over the low-cost, US-produced film continued to spread. Obama rejected the film, which insults the Prophet Mohammad, but said there is no excuse for attacks on US embassies.

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Anti-Islam film violence rages on

"I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths," Obama said in his weekly radio address. "Yet there is never any excuse for attacks on our embassies and consulates."

In Indonesia on Saturday hundreds of protestors from the Hizb ut-Tahrir religious organization gathered in Surabaya and Malang in the East Java province, to protest against the film, titled 'Innocence of Muslims.'

"We must not stay quiet the Prophet Muhammad is insulted. This is a cruel insult," a demonstrator told those gathered. Protestors responded with calls to punish the films director with death.

Several hundred people also marched in Sydney before gathering outside the US consulate and throwing rocks and bottles at police wearing anti-riot equipment.

Death toll rising

Meanwhile the death toll in the wake of an attack on a US embassy in the Tunisian capital, Tunis rose further on Saturday. According to the health ministry, four people were killed and almost 50 were injured when violent clashes broke out on Friday between security forces and demonstrators, angered by the film. More than 20 police officers were also hurt.

In further violence on Friday, police in Egypt, Lebanon and Sudan struggled to defend American embassies from scores of protestors throwing stones and torching buildings.

US authorities responded by deploying military personnel to defend its missions against attack. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States would station military personnel in as many as 18 locations so they can respond to any unrest.

"We have to be prepared in the event that these demonstrations get out of control," Panetta told Foreign Policy magazine.

He declined to comment on the specifics of the operation, but the magazine said the Pentagon was in the throws of deciding whether to send a third battalion of 50 specially trained Marines to defend the US consulate in Sudan after it came under attack on Friday along with the British and German missions in Khartoum.

On Tuesday, the American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other officials were killed when angry protestors set fire to the mission in Benghazi reportedly in response to the release of the film.

Director questioned

The Californian man, alleged to have been behind the making of the film, was reportedly taken in for questioning by federal US officials early on Saturday investigating possible probation infringements stemming its filming.

He confirmed authorities were not investigating the film project itself, as producing such material is not an offence in the United States, and that the man had not been arrested.

For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous.

jlw, ccp/jr (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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