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Protests against US spread (LIVE BLOG)

Major demonstrations sparked by a US-made anti-Islam video were spreading Friday throughout the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.

GLOBALPOST ANTI-US PROTEST LIVE BLOG

UPDATE: 9/15/12 6:00 PM ET

US tells families, non-essential staff to leave Tunis, Khartoum

Family members and non-essential American staff have been ordered to leave the embassies in Tunis and Khartoum, according to Reuters.

"Given the security situation in Tunis and Khartoum, the State Department has ordered the departure of all family members and non-emergency personnel from both posts, and issued parallel travel warnings to American citizens," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The State Department said on Saturday that while Sudan's government had taken steps to limit terrorist activities, the threat against Western interests remained high. The Associated Press said the terrorist threat level remained critical in Sudan, while Americans in Tunisia were encouraged to fly out of the country via commercial airlines.

UPDATE: 9/15/12 3:50 PM ET

German far-right group wants to screen anti-Islam film

German far-right group, Pro Deutschland, said it wants to organize a screening of the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" in Berlin, according to Agence France Presse.

The head of the group, Manfred Rouhs, told Der Spiegel, "For us, it's a question of art and freedom of expression."

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said he would use every legal means to stop the screening. He told Der Spiegel, "Such groups and organizations only want to provoke Germany's Muslims."

Read more here.

UPDATE: 9/15/12 2:15 PM ET

Leaders responding to protests

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore called on Muslims to stop using violence to protest the anti-Islam film, according to the Associated Press.

Compaore said the filmmaker was a "brainless man who thinks he has the right to despise the religious feelings of others."

He said the "credibility and greatness" of Islam is not through violence, the AP reported.

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki also condemned the violence, calling the situation in Tunis "an attack on the embassy of a friendly nation," according to Reuters.

At least two people were killed in Tunis, after police fired to disperse protesters near the US embassy.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil told the BBC the US must do all it can to stop people from insulting Islam. He said it was "unacceptable to insult our Prophet," but also said protests should not turn violent.

Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti, the highest religious authority, denounced attacks on diplomats and embassies as un-Islamic on Saturday, according to Al Jazeera.

Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al al-Sheikh also called on governments to criminalize insults against the Prophet.

"It is forbidden to punish the innocent for the wicked crimes of the guilty, or to attack those who have been granted protection of their lives and property, or to expose public buildings to fire or destruction," he said in a speech, according to Al Jazeera.

UPDATE: 9/15/12 1:40 PM ET

Causes behind the protests

The BBC examined the causes behind the protests, pointing out that the Arab Spring made protesting more common, and easier for violent extremists to exploit.

According to a Pew survey conducted in June 2012, only 15 percent of Muslim countries held a favorable view of the United States, compared to 25 percent in 2009.

The BBC noted that such anti-Americanism stems from US policy concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the wars America has fought in the Middle East and America's history of backing friendly dictators.

However, despite the protests, 35 percent of Egyptians want strong Egypt-US relations, 60 percent of Tunisians like American ideas of democracy and 54 percent of Libyans approve of American leadership, according to various polls.

Read more at the BBC.

UPDATE: 9/15/12 1:00 PM ET

Sudan rejects request to send Marines

Sudan rejected a request by the United States to send a platoon of Marines to strengthen security at the US embassy in Khartoum, according to Reuters.

On Friday, a US official said Washington would be sending troops to improve security.

However, Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti told state news agency SUNA on Saturday, "Sudan is able to protect the diplomatic missions in Khartoum and the state is committed to protecting its guests in the diplomatic corps."

UPDATE: 

9/15/12 10:16 AM ET

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker, questioned by US police
   

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man thought to be behind the controversial anti-Islam video that prompted protests worldwide on Friday, is reportedly speaking with California police -- but not about the provocative footage. 

Nakoula, 55, was taken into the Los Angeles County Sheriff's station early today for questioning about his probationary terms, a spokesman told Reuters.

He is not under arrest and volunteered to speak to police, according to the local sheriff's spokesman, but he will not be returning home immediately. Nakoula earlier expressed fears of being targeted in attacks over the video. 

Nakoula, who the Associated Press identified as a Coptic Christian living in Cerritos, southern California, is not being questioned in connection with the content of the controversial film, "Innocence of Muslims."

Instead, federal probation officers are wondering if he broke his probationary conditions, among them a ban on internet access and adopting unapproved aliases -- two prohibitions his unconfirmed work on the film would suggest he violated. 

More from GlobalPost on the story here

UPDATE: 9/15/12 7:46 AM ET

Egypt: 142 arrested over violent anti-American protests in Cairo
   

Egypt's Interior Ministry today said 142 people were arrested during four days of clashes between protesters and police in Cairo, reported CNN. Scuffles were reported in Tahrir Square very early today, according to Egypt Independent, but the area has since been cleared by police. Days of unrest in Cairo's Tahrir Square and the US embassy left one person dead and scores injured as police resorted to tear gas in a bid to disperse crowds angered by the US-made anti-Islam video. 

Here's a video recap from CNN's Cairo correspondent today: 

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UPDATE: 9/15/12 7:03 AM ET

Obama vows justice for 'tragic' attacks, says Islam against violence so 'no excuse' for bloodshed
   

US President Barack Obama today addressed mounting anti-American sentiment sparked by a deadly Tuesday attack against the US embassy in Libya. From the White House: 

 

UPDATE: 9/15/12 6:41 AM ET

Top Al Qaeda group calls for Muslim-led "crusader wars" targeting US diplomats worldwide 

Al Qaeda in Yemen, a group the US considers one of the most threatening, issued a statement today calling on Muslims to "follow the example of Omar al-Mukhtar's descendants [Libyans], who killed the American ambassador," reported Reuters.

A Tuesday attack on the US consulate in Libya's Benghazi in protests over a US-made anti-Islam film killed the US ambassador along with three others and sparked a wave of similar demonstrations worldwide. The US on Friday deployed an emergency Marine force to Yemen after protesters scaled embassy walls in a violent rally held Thursday over the film. 

"Let the step of kicking out the embassies be a step towards liberating Muslim countries from the American hegemony," Reuters cited Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as saying in an online statement that urged Muslims worldwide to join "crusader wars."

UPDATE: 9/15/12 6:22 AM ET

Anti-Islam film inspires deadly Taliban attack overnight in Afghanistan, 2 US Marines killed

The Taliban today took responsibility for overnight attack on a coalition base in Afghanistan that killed at least two US Marines, claiming the violence was in response to US-made anti-Islam footage that has angered Muslim communities worldwide and because it is the base used by Taliban target Prince Harry, said the Associated Press

The attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province took place late Friday night, said BBC News, citing a local governor as saying over a dozen militants were killed alongside the two US Marines as coalition forces clashed with armed insurgents. It was not immediately clear how many people died in the assault. 

"We attacked that base because Prince Harry was also on it and so they can know our anger," Taliban spokesman Qari Youssef Ahmadi told AP today, adding to Reuters that the "aim of this attack was revenge against Americans for the anti-Prophet movie."

Camp Bastion is one of the largest, most heavily-protected military bases in the country, said BBC, adding "serious questions will be asked about how militants were able to stage the brazen surprise assault." 

The Taliban earlier said it was on a mission to kill the British crown Prince, who last week began a four-month deployment in the dangerous province.

NATO told Reuters the helicopter-pilot prince, the third in line to the throne, was "never in any danger" despite being on the camp at the time of the assault. 

The sprawling base is used by a number of countries, but Friday's attack targeted the US compound, Camp Leatherneck, said BBC, most likely to highlight the Taliban's anger over the US-made anti-Islam footage that sparked protests worldwide on Friday. 

The Afghan government has blocked online footage of the offending video. 

The US has upped its military presence abroad in response to the wave of anti-American protests, which were sparked by a Tuesday attack in Libya that killed the US ambassador and three others.

UPDATE: 9/15/12 6:11 AM ET

Film unrest spreads to Sydney

Hundreds rallied against a US-made video critical of Islam in central Sydney today, reported the Associated Press

Al Jazeera said protesters were seen "hurling bottles and shoes" at the US consulate there, prompting clashes with riot police, according to AP

Several hundred people took part in the protest, AP putting it at 200 and Al Jazeera at 500. There were a few reported injuries, said AP

Some of the demonstrators reportedly shouted anti-American slogans like, "Obama, Obama, we love Osama," said AP

ABC's Josh Bavas tweeted this picture from the protest today: 

This image taken by The Globe and Mail's Joel Tozer shows kids being pulled into the controversy: 

UPDATE: 9/14/12 5:48 PM ET

Small protest in Israel after Friday prayers

GlobalPost correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky sends the following update from Jerusalem:

"At the conclusion of Friday prayers today about three hundred worshipers broke off into a protest that exited the old city from Damascus Gate and headed to the American Consulate on Agron Road, a short distance away. That is coincidentally where Chris Stevens served during his years in Jerusalem, though it felt like none of the participants grasped the irony."

Tarnopolsky also reported thousands of police officers dispersed around downtown Jerusalem on Friday afternoon. Protests were largely peaceful, with a few isolated incidents of rock throwing against police and 4 people arrested, according to Tarnopolsky.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 4:27 PM ET

More casualties reported: 3 killed in Tunisia, 1 dead in Egypt

Reuters, citing Sudan's state radio service, reported that three were killed Friday during demonstrations outside the US embassy in Sudan.

In Cairo, the Associated Press reported that one protestor, 20, was killed Friday during clashes near the US Embassy. A morgue official told the AP that the protestor died from wounds inflicted by rubber bullets.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 3:45 PM ET

Obama honors Americans killed in Libya

President Barack Obama paid tribute to Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the three other Americans killed in the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, during a transfer of remains ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, according to the Associated Press. He was joined by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Obama said, "They had a duty and they believed in it. They lived the American idea with courage, the hope and the ideals of the fundamental American beliefs, that is who they were and who we are ... Their sacrifice will never be forgotten. We will bring to justice those who took them from us ... We will continue to protect all Americans serving overseas, making it clear justice will come for those who harm America ... We are Americans and we hold our head high, knowing that because of these patriots, the country we love will always shine as a light unto the world," according to Al Jazeera.

Obama clinton transfer of remains libya consulate september 14 2012

UPDATE: 9/14/12 3:10 PM ET

Egyptian Bedouins storm peacekeeper camp in Sinai

A group of Egyptian Bedouin stormed an international peacekeepers' camp in the Sinai on Friday, protesting the anti-Islam film that has sparked protests across the Middle East. Agence France Presse reported that clashes left at least three people injured, according to a security official.

The Bedouin reportedly broke through the fence at the Multinational Force and Observers compound and set fire to an observation tower, said AFP. The peacekeeping mission is stationed there to monitor the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Read more at AFP.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 2:50 PM ET

White House asks YouTube to review anti-Islam film for violations

The White House asked YouTube to review the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims," which has been blamed for igniting violent protests across the Middle East and North Africa, The Washington Post reported.

Spokesman for the National Security Council, Tommy Vietor, said the White House had "reached out to YouTube to call the video to their attention and ask them to review whether it violates their terms of use."

The video remained on the site as of Friday afternoon, noted The Post. On Wednesday, a YouTube spokesperson said the video "is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube."

Read more at The Post.

Meanwhile, here is live feed of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presiding over the transfer of remains ceremony Andrews Air Force Base, courtesy of NBC. For more on that story, click here.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

UPDATE: 9/14/12 2:42 PM ET

India: 86 people arrested over protests

Eighty-six people were detained today following a violent protest of several hundred in front of the US consulate in India's Chennai, according to Agence-France Press.

The demonstration, part of a wave of unrest triggered by a US-made anti-Islamic online video, was reportedly organized by a local Islamist movement. AFP, citing local officials, said protesters threw stones at the embassy and burned a US flag as well as an effigy of US President Barack Obama. 

The Chennai protest was small in comparison with unrest seen today in nearby Kashmir, where thousands of people took to the streets to protest the video, reported The Wall Street Journal

UPDATE: 9/14/12 2:25 PM ET

President Obama and Vice President Biden meeting Libyan US consulate victims' families

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are visiting with the families of the victims who died in the attack on the US consulate in Libya, according to the Associated Press.

Obama and Biden, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, expressed condolences, while visiting the Andrews Air Force Base terminal to witness the transfer of remains ceremony for Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the three other Americans killed in Benghazi on Tuesday.

Read more from the AP.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 2:07 PM ET

UPDATE: US school in Tunisia set on fire

As reported earlier, protesters set fire to an American school in Tunis, where demonstrators had already converged on the US embassy. The school in question appears to be the official embassy school. Here's amateur footage of the fire from "BritTunis" featured by Reuters:

 

UPDATE: 9/14/12 1:56 PM ET

US steps up military presence in region, US drones flying over Libya come under attack

US drones came under fire from militias as they flew over Libya's Benghazi last night, prompting Libyan authorities to shut down airspace and close the airport today, officials told Reuters. The drones were monitoring the area following a Tuesday attack on the US consulate there that killed four people, among them the US ambassador. 

"Two American drones flew over Benghazi last night with knowledge of the Libyan authorities," Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif told Reuters."They were visible to the eye, and came under attack by anti-aircraft weapons used by armed militias."

Reuters also said two US military warships are heading for the North African coast. 

UPDATE: 9/14/12 1:50 PM ET

Tunisia protests escalate

Reuters said Tunisian State TV is reporting at least three dead in the Tunisia protests, and 28 wounded. A Reuters reporter saw police opening fire to stop protesters from entering the embassy building, but it remains unclear if the casualties were a result of that action. A large, billowing cloud of smoke rose from near the embassy, as these pictures from France 24's David Thomson show:

 

 

 

For more on Tunisia, click here.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 1:25 PM ET

White House says no indication Libya protest was decoy for attack, reiterates position on offending US-made video

Obama today said the White House has no evidence that the deadly Tuesday attack on the US embassy in Libya -- which took the life of the US ambassador and triggered similar protests around the globe -- had been pre-planned, said Reuters. The remarks clarify the US position after reports surfaced that the Benghazi demonstration over the US-made anti-Islamic film were used as a cover-up for an operation planned well in advance. The US leader today ordered a security review of US diplomatic agencies worldwide, according to Reuters

The White House also responded to widening anti-American protest activity abroad by reaffirming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Thursday statement on the offending video, with White House press spokesman Jay Carney telling ABC

 The unrest we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims find offensive. And while the violence is reprehensible and unjustified, it is not a reaction to the 9/11 anniversary that we know of or to US. policy.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 1:10 PM ET

Jordan protests small but vocal

GlobalPost's Erin Cunningham is in Amman, Jordan, covering the protests and tweeting updates. She said the crowds have been small, but vocal, and mostly comprised of young and middle-aged men.

Here are some of her updates:

 

 

For more of Erin's pictures from Amman, click here.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 12:55 PM ET

Protests in Nigeria, Morocco

Al Jazeera reported that Nigerian soldiers fired live rounds into the air near a mosque in Jos on Friday to disperse a crowd that was planning a protest against the anti-Islam film, "Innocence of Muslims."

Captain Salihu Mustapha said the soldiers "had to fire some warning shots in the air, but there were no casualties." He said the crowd numbered several hundred and carried placards that were denouncing America.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Salafists burned American flags in Morocco after Friday prayers, said Al Jazeera. Nearly 200 protesters gathered, shouting slogans against the US including "American Satan."

Read more here.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 12:48 PM ET

Map shows wide spread of protest

UPDATE: 9/14/12 12:35 PM ET

Hundreds of Afghans protest

Hundreds of Afghans protested on Friday, burning the US flag and an effigy of President Barack Obama during a protest near the eastern city of Jalalabad. The Associated Press reported that some shouted "Death to America," but there were no reports of violence.

Mohammad Zhirullah, a protester, said the crowd called for Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sever relations with the US. He said, "When the movie was shown around the world, it broke the heart of every Muslim."

Read more here.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 12:15 PM ET

Libya: Militants used protests as cover for consulate attack

A senior Libyan official said on Thursday that the armed militants who attacked the US consulate in Benghazi used the protests as a cover for their operation, and may have had help from within Libyan security, according to the Associated Press.

Four arrests have been made in connection with the attack which left four American consulate personnel dead, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The AP said the attack appeared to be a two-pronged assault, with the mob attacking the consulate and then later raiding a safe house. Eastern Libya's deputy interior minister, Wanis el-Sharef, suggested that someone within the security forces told the militants about the safe house's location.

Read more here.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the White House released a statement saying there was no information to suggest the Libya attack was pre-planned.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 11:55 AM ET

Protests, flag burning in London

The BBC reported that around 200 protesters gathered outside the US embassy in London, burning the US and Israeli flags.

According to ITV, the protesters said it was a peaceful protest. Posters that the protesters carried read: "America the Enemy of Islam and Muslims," "Islam is coming," and "democracy and freedom on death row"

UPDATE: 9/14/12 11:33 AM ET

Reuters: US school in Tunisia set on fire

A Reuters correspondent is reporting that protesters have set fire to an American school in Tunis, where demonstrators have already converged on the US embassy. 

UPDATE: 9/14/12 11:25 AM ET

Gunfire heard in Sudan, five hurt in Tunisia

A Reuters reporter heard gunfire at the embassy in Sudan.

Al Jazeera has video footage from Khartoum, Sudan, where the Germany embassy was set on fire during the protests:

Meanwhile, CNN reported that protesters in Tunisia took down a US flag from its pole in the US embassy in Tunis. Police fired tear gas at the protesters who were attempting to climb the embassy's gate.

Thick, black smoke was rising from an area near the US embassy in Tunisia, but it remained unclear what was on fire, said CNN.

A Reuters reporter said at least five protesters have been wounded by police gunfire in Tunis, and a large fire was burning inside the compound.

The US embassy in Tunisia has a warning up on its official page, saying, "Demonstrations are expected to take place today in the vicinity of the US Embassy, and the security situation remains fluid." As of the time the warning was posted, the embassy remained open.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 11:00 AM ET

US Marines land in Yemen

A 50-Marine platoon arrived in Yemen's Sanaa today, officials told The Wall Street Journal. The elite US forces are to assist local security efforts after the US embassy was stormed Thursday by a large crowd of violent protesters angered by US-made anti-Islamic video. 

The Marine Fleet Anti-Terrorism Support Team, known as FAST, was dispatched by Washington after the consulate was breached Thursday. “This is partly in response to the violence at the diplomatic compounds in Sanaa and partially as a precautionary measure,” an unnamed US official told WSJ

Their arrival comes as security forces work to contain fresh protests outside the embassy today by firing tear gas and warning gunfire in a bid to discourage unrest as protests over the video grip the region

Four people were reported killed in clashes between demonstrators and police in Sanna on Thursday, said Bloomberg

UPDATE: 9/14/12 10:20 AM ET

US consulate in Chennai targeted in protests

The Times of India reported that a rally protesting the anti-Islam film in Chennai outside the US consulate turned violent, with protesters throwing rocks and footwear. Window panes and a police booth were damaged and the police used a lathi-charge (stick-charge) to disperse the crowds.

The home ministry has already requested that the government in Jammu and Kashmir block all access to the film, and The Times of India said India is likely to ban the film.

Read more from The Times of India here.

This video via the BBC is unverified, but purports to show protesters at the Chennai US consulate today:

UPDATE: 9/14/12 9:43 AM ET

One killed, 25 wounded during protests in Lebanon

The Associated Press reports that one person was killed and 25 others were wounded during Friday protests in Tripoli, Lebanon, according to officials there.

A Kentucky Fried Chicken branch was also set on fire, the Guardian reported, citing Egypt Independent and photos that appeared on Twitter.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 9:35 AM ET

Demonstrators attack British, German embassies in Sudan

Anger that has been primarily directed at the US during days of protest across the Middle East, North Africa and southern parts of Asia is now extending to other Western nations. Some 5,000 protestors gathered at the two posts to demonstrate according to Reuters.

Reuters reported that Sudanese protestors "broke into the German embassy," where they raised an "Islamic flag" and set the building ablaze.

The Reuters report continues here.

UPDATE: 9/14/12 9:20 AM ET

Protests spread across Middle East, to Asia

Protest activity over anti-Islam footage produced in the United States swelled today, with reports of unrest in Egypt, Yemen, Afghanistan, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, India's Kashmir, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. 

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood earlier called for a "Million Man March" against the video today, but reportedly canceled the event an hour beforehand — a move that may have been a bid to mollify the US as protests take an overwhelmingly anti-American tone.

Hundreds nonetheless turned out outside the US embassy in Cairo today, leading to skirmishes with security forces, according to the Associated Press.

Violence also continues to grip Yemen, with reports today that the US has deployed their elite marine force to the North African country as police resort to using water cannons and warning gunfire in a bid to calm protesters in Sanaa. The unrest comes a day after angry demonstrators stormed the US embassy there, leading to clashes believed to have killed four people, said Bloomberg

Also today, massive protests over the film shook Asia with reports of some 15,000 marching against the film in India's Kashmir, said AP, many of them yelling, "Down with America" and "Down with Israel" 

Similar slogans were also reportedly being shouted by protesters in Iran, said the Los Angeles Times, while hundreds took to the streets in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad, according to AP

Read more on the protests here

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120914/protests-over-video-against-us-spread-live-blog