Protests over anti-Islam movie spread to Yemen
A crowd of protesters yesterday attempted to attack the US Embassy in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, resulting in one protester being shot dead. This sudden violence against US Embassies in the Middle East is due to the release of an American-made film deemed insulting to Islam.
The outbreak of violence follows the killing of Chris Stevens, American Ambassador to Libya, on Tuesday. Several international intelligence forces think that groups tied to al-Qaeda may be the minds behind the attack.
The film in question is still surrounded by mystery. The Innocence of Muslims – originally titled Desert Warrior – was described by acting publications as an adventure film set 2000 years ago. However, the final outcome, as can be seen in trailers posted on YouTube in July, shows scenes of the Prophet Muhammad portrayed as a womaniser, buffoon, ruthless killer and child molester.
Yesterday, demonstrators in Sana’a set cars on fire and breached the embassy compound’s security perimeter. They smashed windows and, in a symbolic move, replaced the US flag with a black flag with the Muslim statement of faith: “There is no God but Allah.”
The White House spokesman confirmed that all the American employees and diplomatic staff working in the embassy were safe.
Simultaneously, other protests broke for a third day outside the American Embassy in Cairo, calling for a “million-man march” in the Egyptian city on Friday.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the film, which gave rise to the protests as “disgusting” and “reprehensible”. “The US utterly rejected its contents and its message”, she said, but also emphasised that the film was no excuse for violence.
Yemen’s embassy in Washington confirmed the increased security level around all foreign missions. Protesters yesterday made another attempt to reach the US mission, but were prevented from getting close by increased security measures and roadblocks. Police and security forces used tear gas and live bullets to disperse the protesters.
According to Saba, the state-run news agency, Yemen’s military committee clearly denounced the attack on the US Embassy, saying that any assault on a foreign mission constitutes a terrorist attack.