Film protests intensify at US embassies | News | DW | 13.09.2012
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Film protests intensify at US embassies

Police have killed a demonstrator in Yemen as protests have increased at US embassies. The source of the anger is the film "Innocence of Muslims," produced in the United States with the intent to provoke.

Police outside in Yemen killed at least one demonstrator and wounded several more using water cannons and live ammunition to deter a crowd of hundreds that had breached the US embassy in the capital city, Sanaa.

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Mob attacks US embassy in Yemen

In Egypt, the Health Ministry has announced that 16 people have been injured as police dispersed protesters outside Cairo's US embassy with tear gas. Protesters had stormed the compound Tuesday, tearing down the American flag and replacing it with a black Islamic flag. Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, condemned the film that had caused such offense, but also condemned the violence.

"It is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad," Morsi said. "I call on everyone to take that into consideration, not to violate Egyptian law ... not to assault embassies."

Demonstrations have also been held in Kuwait, Bangladesh, the Gaza Strip, Iraq, and Iran.

Blocking access to film

In an effort to keep Afghans from seeing the film, authorities in Kabul have banned YouTube - where the controversial footage was originally seen - until further notice.

"There are more than 40 internet providers [in Afghanistan] and all have been asked to block YouTube," said Aimal Marjan, an official from the communications ministry.

Afghan President Hamid Karzei has cancelled a trip to Oslo that was scheduled for Friday so he can remain at home should there be any trouble.

Google, which owns YouTube, said it had temporarily restricted access to the film in Egypt and Libya. However, since the film adhered to YouTube's guidelines, it would not be completely removed from the site.

Investigation in Libya

US and Libyan officials have begun investigating Tuesday's attack on the Benghazi consulate that killed the ambassador and three others, believing now that militants may have committed the attack.

Officials believe Ambassador Chris Stevens died from smoke inhalation, trapped in the compound when militants fired rocket-propelled grenades. One of the other victims was an embassy official, and the other two were US soldiers who came under fire while helping evacuate embassy staff.

US officials are investigating the possibility that the assault was a plot by al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers, using the protests as a diversion to carry out a coordinated revenge attack on Tuesday's 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Mystery has deepened over "Innocence of Muslims." Media cited 'Sam Bacile,' an American-Israeli, as saying he made the film for $5 million (3.9 million euros), but no record of such a person exists. Some have accused Coptic Christians in Egypt, where clips of the film were shown on television over the weekend, of promoting an Arabic-adapted version.

The low-budget movie portrays Muslims as immoral and violent and shows the Prophet Mohammed sleeping with women and talking about killing children. Scenes from the English-language movie have been available online for weeks, but the Arabic-dubbed clips from the weekend apparently sparked the protests.

mkg,mz/dr (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

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