British embassy in line of fire as anger engulfs Muslim world

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen, Nigeria and Egypt among the countries witnessing violent protests against controversial US Prophet film

Cairo

The wave of anti-Western fury triggered by the notorious Prophet Mohamed film appeared to be rippling across the entire Muslim world last night, as outraged protesters held demonstrations and attacked Western embassies.

In Khartoum, the British, German and US missions to Sudan were targeted, with protesters storming the German embassy. And in Lebanon, at least one demonstrator was shot dead after soldiers used live fire to quell rioting.

The German mission was attacked when up to five thousand protesters gathered in the Sudanese capital to express their outrage over the California-made film, although, aside from the general anti-Western sentiment, it is unclear why European interests were attacked. Part of the compound was torched, while some protesters clambered on to the roof and replaced Germany's colours with a black shahada flag, the banner sometimes flown by religious conservatives, which carries the Muslim declaration of faith.

Germany's Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, told reporters that nobody had been harmed during the attack, but that the Sudanese ambassador had been summoned and "unequivocally reminded of his government's duty to protect diplomatic missions"

He added that although the American film was "unspeakable", that it should not be used as an excuse for violence.

There was a second demonstration in Khartoum outside the British embassy. Early reports suggested the compound had been stormed by protesters, though the Foreign Office did not confirm whether or not the building had been breached.

Sudanese protesters who clambered over the wall of the US embassy were ejected before they got far into the compound, a US embassy spokesman said. Reports last night suggested that in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, protesters breached security at the American embassy.

Elsewhere across the Muslim world there were protests after Friday prayers, as the fallout from the film – which depicted the Prophet Mohamed as a womanising savage – looked in danger of spiralling out of control.

In Lebanon, hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of Tripoli, the country's second city, shouting slogans against the US and Pope Benedict XVI, who inadvertently stepped into the maelstrom for a pre-arranged three day visit.

Tearing down banners welcoming the Pope, protesters then torched a KFC branch and police jeep, according to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper. A protester was then shot dead by troops who opened fire on the rally.

There was also a second day of clashes in Yemen, where one person was killed on Thursday after demonstrators stormed the US embassy.

Demonstrators carried placards reading "Today is your last day, ambassador!", but were pinned back by police firing water cannons.

Elsewhere, from Malaysia to Iraq, protests were called in all corners of the Muslim world, while in Nigeria – where the government has battled against a violent Islamic insurgency movement – security was beefed up around embassy compounds. It was reported that security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the Nigerian city of Jos.

In Cairo, protesters battled with police for a third day running. Police were forced to erect a giant wall on the main road leading towards the US embassy to protect the Downtown compound from rioting youths.

As guests peered over their balconies from the Semiramis Intercontinental, a five star hotel just 50 yards from the main battle line, protesters clambered onto the wall to lob stones and aim fireworks at the central security forces protecting the embassy.

"They have offended every Muslim in the world," said one protester, a man in his 20s who gave his name only as Hossam. "In America they have free speech. But if they use it like this, then it will lead to disaster."

Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has come under fire from some Western commentators in recent days for his supposed sluggishness in condemning the violence which has erupted in relation to the anti-Islamic film.

He has since issued a plea for demonstrators to refrain from clashes, while senior Muslim Brotherhood figure Khairat el-Shater also appeared keen to burnish the group's image by sending a letter to The New York Times condemning Wednesday's breach of the US embassy compound in Cairo.

Some protesters also said there were other factors at play, such as residual hostility towards the police and American foreign policy.

In Khartoum, for example, there was speculation that the attacks were related to recent criticism from the Sudanese Foreign Ministry about right-wing protesters in Germany being allowed to carry caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed.

But there is no doubting the deep offence which many ordinary Muslims feel about any high-profile sleight against their religion.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
Sport
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny are preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there