Hundreds of Yemeni demonstrators stormed the US embassy compound in Sanaa on Thursday,in protest against a film they consider blasphemous to Islam,while clashes with security forces killed at least one person and injured 15 others.
News reports also spoke of a protest in Tehran,where around 500 Iranians chanting “Death to America” tried to converge on the Swiss embassy,which handles United States interests in the absence of formal diplomatic relations with Washington. Hundreds of police officers held the crowds back from the diplomatic compound,witnesses said.
In Sanaa,young protesters,shouting We sacrifice ourselves for you,Messenger of God,smashed windows of the security offices outside the embassy and burned at least five cars as they broke through the main gate of the heavily-fortified compound in eastern Sanaa,witnesses said.
We can see a fire inside the compound and security forces are firing in the air, a witness told Reuters.
Witnesses said embassy guards fired in the air to keep the protesters at bay. Riot control forces later used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters.
A local hospital official said the body of one person had been brought in from the scene of the clashes and medics were trying to determine the cause of death. A security source said at least 15 people were wounded,some from bullets. Twelve people have been arrested.
All embassy personnel are safe and accounted for, an embassy spokesman told Reuters.
The protest followed Tuesday nights storming of the United States consulate and a safe house in Benghazi,where the US ambassador to Libya and three other staff were killed. President Barack Obama said the perpetrators would be tracked down and ordered two destroyers to the Libyan coast.
Demonstrators blamed the United States for the film,posted on YouTube under several titles,including Innocence of Muslims. The film depicted the Prophet Mohammad in terms seen as blasphemous by Muslims and was condemned by Washington.
Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi offered a personal apology to President Barack Obama over the incident and ordered a swift investigation.
Hadi blamed mob-like groups bent on harming Yemeni-US relations for the attack and promised to ensure they were properly punished,state news agency Saba said.
A Yemeni security source said Interior Minister Abdul Qader Qahtan personally oversaw the deployment of riot control forces to the area,to clear the protesters from inside the compound.
Yemen,a key US ally,is struggling against multiple challenges since mass protests forced long-serving President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down last year. The US,eager to help Yemen recover from the upheaval that put the state on the verge of collapse,has said it would provide $345 million in security,humanitarian and development assistance this year.
Clashes outside embassy in Cairo leave 70 injured
Cairo: Egyptian police Thursday clashed with an angry crowd of protesters outside the US embassy here,injuring about 70 people.
The crowd clashed with the police throughout the night outside the embassy. Police fired tear gas at protesters banging stones on metal to make noise. Stones were hurled from both sides.
The health ministry said 70 people were injured in the clashes and 23 people were detained,state media reported.
Meanwhile,President Mohammad Morsi slammed the film but warned against the use of violence.We Egyptians reject any kind of assault or insult against our Prophet. I condemn and oppose all who… insult our Prophet, Morsi said. I call on everyone not to violate Egyptian law… not to assault embassies, he added.
The Muslim Brotherhood has also called for peaceful protests on Friday. PTI