Demonstrations Against US Continue to Worsen Over Film

KFC, Hardee's Sacked in Lebanon

by Jason Ditz, September 14, 2012

From the burning of the German embassy in the Sudan to Lebanese protesters sacking a Kentucky Fried Chicken and the adjacent Hardee’s, the Middle East is awash in protests and riots about a number of topics, but none so much as the anti-Muslim movie Innocence of Muslims, which has a trailer but the full version of which no one has actually seen yet.

The bloodiest incidents took place in Libya, where the Benghazi consulate was burned, killing four including the US Ambassador, and in Tunisia, where protesters stormed the embassy, killing three and wounding 28, before setting a nearby US-run school ablaze.

But no place is immune, and from Morocco to Indonesia, and everywhere in between, protests are breaking out and the US is struggling to ratchet up security. Even Tel Aviv saw protests, as Bedouins marched on the US embassy.

The embassy in Yemen has been stormed, and police attacked demonstrators today as they marched on it again, killing two. Egyptian forces continue to try to keep people away from the Cairo embassy, after protesters climbed the facade earlier this week and took down the US flag. Egypt’s decision not to ban a march on Tahrir Square to protest the movie also led President Obama to term Egypt “not an ally.”

President Mursi urged Egyptians not to attack embassies, but the ability of police to keep protesters away is unclear. In Sudan, a top sheik urged the crowds on, and hundreds stormed the German embassy over claims of “anti-Islam” graffiti written on mosques, then urged them to move against the US embassy, where they clashed with police, at least one protester killed.

Protests in Indonesia, Malaysia and India were mostly peaceful marches against US embassies and consulates, while the march in Iran targeted the Swiss Embassy, since they deal with Iran-US relations. In many nations, the protesters were blocked from the embassies, and fought with police.

Several nations are trying to mitigate the riots by blocking YouTube access, keeping people from seeing the sloppily-made trailer, and the White House has confirmed it has pressed YouTube to remove the video.

At this point it is easier to count the nation’s that haven’t seen protests than those who have. Syria has been immune, apparently too busy with their ongoing civil war to check YouTube, and nations like Saudi Arabia and Algeria where preemptive government crackdowns have kept the dissent from going public.

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