Anti-US protests begin in Egypt, Yemen, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Iran

Egyptian protesters angry at a film offending Prophet Mohammad hurled stones on Friday at a line of police in Cairo blocking their way to the US embassy, which was attacked earlier this week.

 Police in riot gear fired tear gas and threw stones back at the demonstrators. A burnt-out car was overturned in the middle of the street which leads to the fortified embassy from Tahrir Square. 

 In Yemen, security forces blocked the streets surrounding the US embassy in Sanaa on Friday as demonstrators against a film deemed blasphemous to Islam gathered nearby, a day after the heavily fortified compound was stormed in protest at the film. 

 Around 20 to 30 people stood in a road to the north of the embassy, carrying signs saying "Anything but the Messenger of God", a Reuters witness said.

 At least one person died and 15 were injured at Thursday's demonstration, which started as a peaceful march but quickly turned violent when protesters threw stones and signs before attacking the security offices and the compound.

 No US embassy staff were hurt. Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi condemned the attack and said Yemen would be launching an investigation.

 The embassy in Yemen told US citizens it expected more protests against the film, which depicts the Prophet Mohammad in terms seen as blasphemous by Muslims, and that it would be closing its consular services on Saturday.

 "US Embassy Sanaa informs US citizens of continued demonstrations in the vicinity of the embassy, and the security situation remains fluid," the embassy said in a statement posted on its website late on Thursday.

 The US embassy is closed on Thursdays and Fridays, which are not working days in Yemen.

 The protest followed Tuesday night's storming of the US Consulate and a safe house in Benghazi, Libya when the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed. President Barack Obama said the perpetrators would be tracked down and ordered two destroyers to the Libyan coast.

 Protesters against the film also attacked the US embassy in Egypt and there were fears demonstrations would spread to other countries in the Muslim world. 

 Demonstrators blamed the United States for the film, posted on YouTube under several titles, including "Innocence of Muslims". Washington has condemned the film. 

The US boosted security at its embassies amid fears that more anti-American violence sparked by a film mocking Islam could erupt after Friday's Muslim prayers across the Middle East and North Africa.

Four people died in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Thursday as police fired live rounds and tear gas to try to disperse an angry crowd of hundreds of protesters trying to storm the US mission.

Fears of bigger Friday protests

Amid the mounting protests, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the Middle East "may descend into chaos."

The crisis also reverberated in the US presidential race as Republican challenger Mitt Romney insisted that US power was vital in the region but halted his criticism of Obama's handling of the crisis.

The White House hopeful sparked a furore on Tuesday when he offered a quick and blunt rebuke of the Obama administration's efforts to tamp down the rapidly escalating protests.

The catalyst for the bloody conflagration in the Muslim world was an amateurish film denigrating the Prophet Mohammed and linked to evangelical and Coptic Christians in the United States.

The suspected producer is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Copt living in California. It was promoted on the websites of two other Americans, extremist Christian pastor Terry Jones and another Copt, Washington-based lawyer Morris Sadek.

Both the State Department and the White House say there is nothing they can do to stop individuals producing inflammatory material because of freedom of speech laws enshrined in the First Amendment of the US constitution.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon condemned the "hateful" anti-Islam film as deliberately intended to incite bigotry.

US: 2 former Navy SEALS also died in Libya attack

The United States on Thursday identified two additional victims of this week's deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as former Navy SEALS who died trying to protect their colleagues.

 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty died in Tuesday's assault on the Benghazi consulate, which also killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, a State Department information management officer.

 "Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest gratitude are with their families and friends. Our embassies could not carry on our critical work around the world without the service and sacrifice of brave people like Tyrone and Glen," Clinton said in a statement.

 The statement identified both Woods and Doherty as former Navy SEALS with lengthy experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. It did not say in what capacity they were working in Benghazi. 

U.S. officials had confirmed that Stevens and Smith died in the attack, but said they could not confirm the identities of the two other victims pending notification of their families.

 Three other U.S. personnel were wounded in Tuesday's attack, which took place amid a wave of anti-U.S. protests across the Middle East against a low-budget, anti-Islam film produced in the United States.

 U.S. President Barack Obama has vowed to work with Libyan officials to seek justice for those responsible for the Benghazi attack, which presented Obama with a new foreign policy crisis less than two months before he seeks re-election.

 The U.S. Navy's SEAL (Sea, Air and Land) teams are among the most storied of U.S. special operations forces.

 Doherty's family, through a public relations firm, had released information about him, including comments from friends.

 "Don't feel sorry for him, he wouldn't have it," wrote Brandon Webb, who identified himself as a former SEAL and friend of Doherty's. 

 "He died serving with men he respected, protecting the freedoms we enjoy as Americans and doing something he loved."  

 ABC News interviewed Doherty last month. At the time, he said he was working with the State Department on an intelligence mission to round up shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles and destroy them, according to an ABC News report. 

Indian cleric warns Americans to leave

The most senior Islamic cleric in Indian Kashmir has told all US citizens to "immediately leave" the region because of the privately-produced anti-Islam film that surfaced in the United States.

"US citizens visiting Kashmir should leave immediately as the sentiments of the Muslims have been hurt by these pictures," the Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Bashiruddin Ahmad said Thursday, according to the Press Trust of India.

"Everyone accepts the greatness of the Prophet and any attempt to malign his image will not be tolerated," the news agency quoted him as saying.

A small group of protesters gathered peacefully on Thursday in the city of Srinagar in Kashmir to denounce the film, but police were on standby for the possibility of unrest after prayers on Friday.

Four people died in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Thursday as violence once again flared outside US embassies in the Middle East and North Africa over the low-budget film.

The deaths followed the killing of US diplomat and three colleagues in Syria Tuesday, after a mob stormed the consulate in Benghazi.

India is home to a Muslim population estimated at about 150 million, according to census data.

Muslim-majority Kashmir is a picturesque Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan where a two-decade separatist war has raged on the Indian side.

Malaysian Muslims protest anti-Islam film

Muslims held demonstrations across Malaysia on Friday, calling for the United States to prevent distribution of an anti-Islam film they said was part of a plot by "Christian extremists".

Violent protests that began in Egypt and Libya on Tuesday over the amateur, privately-produced US movie "Innocence of Muslims" had already spread to several other Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

But Friday marked the first, albeit peaceful, demonstrations in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

They included a group of about 30 people representing various Islamic organisations who marched to the US embassy in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

They handed over a memo to an embassy official calling for the US to take the clip off YouTube, prevent it being released, and to try the filmmakers for "crimes against human rights" and "inciting Muslims".

The opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party said protests would be held at other cities around the country but AFP could not immediately confirm how widespread they were. There have been no reports of violence.

Indonesian protesters say anti-Islam film declares war

More than 350 Muslims staged an anti-US demonstration in Jakarta on Friday, spewing anger at America over an anti-Islam film.

Outside the US embassy in the Indonesian capital, the protesters -- men and women with children in tow -- carried banners that read "We condemn the insult against Allah's messenger", and the Koranic verse "There is no God but Allah".

A speaker from the pro-Caliphate organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir that organised the protest, told the crowd: "This film insulted our prophet and we condemn it. The film is a declaration of war."

The crowd shouted back: "Allahu akbar!" (God is greatest), while police clad in riot gear stood guard nearby.

Another speaker declared: "The US does not deserve to stay here," as the crowd roared that Americans be expelled from the world's largest Muslim nation.

Jakarta police spokesman Rikwanto, who goes by one name, said about 400 policemen had been deployed to guard security around the US Embassy in Jakarta. A strong police contingent, including dozens in riot gear, stood guard before the embassy grounds.

The embassy posted a new security message for US citizens on its website, saying that in light of the protests "we strongly encourage you to follow good personal security practices, maintain a heightened situational awareness, and remain vigilant of your surroundings at all times".

Thousands march in Tehran over anti-Islam film

Thousands of people yelling "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" rallied in central Tehran on Friday to protest an anti-Islam film blamed for violent anti-US demonstrations in the Middle East and North Africa.

State television showed the crowd streaming out after Friday prayers at Tehran University in which a cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, blamed the United States for the crude film.

"It is a wonder how those running a country claiming to be a superpower become so stupid in taking such actions," he said.

"In their recent lunacy, they have made a movie -- whose finances are said to be paid by the Zionists -- to insult the prophet," he said.

The crowd responded by chanting "Death to America."

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was separately quoted by state media as claiming "lowbrow Zionists... seek to create a religious war between the followers of (different) faiths."

He added: "I believe that the actors behind the US (political) scene have realised that the Zionist regime (Israel) does not benefit them anymore... and the Zionists have realised this and seek to create waves to change the game."

On Thursday, hundreds of Iranians held a peaceful protest over the film near the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which handles US diplomatic interests. Security forces kept them well away from the compound.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Thursday demanded the United States punish those behind the film.

"If the American politicians are honest that they had no role, then they must punish those who committed this heinous crime and their financial backers in proportion to this great crime," Khamenei said, according to a statement on his official website.

Hundreds of angry Afghans protest

Hundreds of Afghans — some shouting "Death to America" — have held a protest against an anti-Islam film in the eastern city of Jalalabad.

Since it surfaced on the Internet, it has prompted violent protests at U.S. embassies in the Middle East. The American ambassador and three other U.S. staff members were killed when the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked.

It is unclear who organized Friday's demonstration in the Marko area of Nangarhar province between Jalalabad and the Pakistan border.

One protester, a man named Zhirullah who spoke to The Associated Press on the phone from the site, says the crowd called on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to cut relations with the United States.


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