Fearing Protests, France Closes Embassies en Masse

Warns of Retaliation for Cartoons' Publication

by Jason Ditz, September 19, 2012

French officials are ramping up embassy security worldwide and have closed embassies, consulates and other sites in 20 countries, anticipating massive protests and potential violence from the publication of a weekly magazine.

The magazine, the Charlie Hebdo, is a satirical magazine and features a number of caricatures of Muhammad, and after major protests and riots over a YouTube trailer for an anti-Muslim film, officials aren’t quite sure what to expect.

The White House slammed the magazine for the publication, saying that the caricatures were “deeply offensive.” French officials have insisted that freedom of speech is inviolable and that they will simply plan for the worst.

Past cartoons have spawned a harsh reaction in the Muslim world, but the attention seems to be almost entirely centered on the YouTube trailer at the moment, so the French situation may slip under the radar.

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