New Protests Erupt Over Anti-Islam Film
Hundreds of protesters demonstrating against an anti-Islam film torched a press club and a government building in northwest Pakistan Monday, sparking clashes with police that left at least one person dead. Demonstrations also turned violent outside a U.S. military base in Afghanistan and at the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia.
The attacks followed demonstrations and violence in about 20 countries since last Tuesday when the American ambassador in Libya and three of his staff were killed in an attack on the United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi as protests spread from neighboring Egypt.
Monday's protests in Pakistan's Upper Dir district, in the country's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, involved about 800 people.
In Afghanistan, hundreds of demonstrators burned tires and shipping containers while throwing stones at police and buildings in the capital, Kabul. It is the first significant violence in that country over a crude, American-made film that mocks the Prophet Muhammad. Protesters shouted "Death to America" and burned U.S. and Israeli flags. At least two police cars were set ablaze.
About 50 Afghan policemen sustained light injuries attempting to quell the violence, but commanders said they eventually managed to control the crowd. A number of Afghan elders and religious leaders urged calm.
In Jakarta, hundreds of Indonesians angered over the film clashed with police outside the U.S. Embassy, hurling rocks and firebombs and setting tires alight outside the mission. Protesters there also burned U.S. flags and a picture of U.S. President Barack Obama. The actions marked the first significant violence seen in the world's most populous Muslim country since international outrage over the film exploded last week.
Demonstrations also were held Monday in the Indonesian cities of Medan and Bandung. A peaceful protest attended by hundreds of Palestinians also took place in Ramallah, in the West Bank.
Western embassies in central Kabul, including the U.S. and British missions, were placed on lockdown and violence flared near fortified housing compounds for foreign workers. Rallies also took place in London, Australia, Turkey and Pakistan on Sunday, showing the global scale of the outrage.
The U.S. says it will close its embassy in Bangkok on Tuesday because of a large planned demonstration against the film. A message on the embassy's website urged U.S. citizens in Thailand to "exercise caution... particularly in large crowds."
Iranian officials said Monday they would hunt down those responsible for making the video. The low-budget film, The Innocence of Muslims, depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester, among other overtly insulting claims.
The man allegedly behind the obscure, private film was questioned Saturday by U.S. authorities in California.
Anti-U.S. Protests Timeline:
September 11: Protesters attack U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt and U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americas are killed
September 12: Anti-U.S. protests spread to several Arab countries.
September 13: Protesters storm U.S. embassy compound in Sana'a, Yemen
September 14: Protests spread further across Africa, Asia and the Middle East
September 15: US orders non-essential personnel and families of diplomats out of Tunisia and Sudan
September 16: A protester dies during a clash with police in Pakistan
September 17: A protester dies during a clash with police in Pakistan
Article by VOA News