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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Egyptians protested at the Embassy of United States

Protesters at US Embassy in Cairo

Thousands of Egyptians gathered on Tuesday, 11 September, at the US Embassy in Cairo protesting against the short movie which allegedly insulted Islamic Prophet Mohamed and was considered being anti-Islam and abusive for Muslims.

The controversial movie was reportedly produced in USA. There were accusations among the protesters that the movie was made and produced by US based Coptic-Christian Egyptians, but later on Wednesday the reports came that the movie was made by US-Israeli filmmaker.

This movie was circulating in internet and in social networks, but it wasn’t known a lot, as it was dubbed in Arabic. The only one English version is available in internet. This sort movie is allegedly showing the life of Islamic Prophet Mohamed and of Muslims in an extremely abusive way. Such an action provoked the anger among many Muslims in Egypt and in the neighboring Libya. It is also worth mentioning here that Muslims consider any depiction of Prophet Mohamed being abusive and offensive and it is strictly forbidden in Islam to show Islamic Prophet.

A lot of Egyptians were angered by such a movie, and nearly three-four thousand people have been protesting in front of US Embassy in Cairo on 11 September against this movie. The protesters included mostly Islamists, Salafis (hard-line Islamists) and so called Ultras, soccer supporters who played a big role during Egyptian January 25 Revolution.

They surrounded the Embassy building, and some of them even managed to climb on the walls around the Embassy. A lot of protesters were waving religious flags and banners and were chanting “There is no God but Allah, and Mohamed is his Messenger”. They were extremely angry over the movie and were demanding the strong actions from Egyptian authorities. The demonstrators called on Morsy to take actions, especially considering that fact that Mohamed Morsy comes from Islamists movement Muslim Brotherhood.

The angry protesters were demanding the movie to be banned and those who made it to be prosecuted. They also claimed that apologizes from the US side should be delivered immediately. Some of the protesters have been even calling to break diplomatic relationships between USA and Egypt and to withdraw the Ambassador, demanding the closure of the Embassy.

Protesters surrounded the building of the US Embassy, with some of them scaled the walls of it and tore down the flag of USA. After the flag was removed it was torched by protesters and replaced immediately with the black flag often used by Al-Qaeda. Some of the demonstrators wrote on the walls of the Embassy: “If you have your freedom of speech and expression, see our freedom in action”.

According to the statement of David Linfield, the official US Embassy’s spokesperson, the protesters really were able to enter the territory of the embassy and managed to remove the flag. But he denied the rumors which have been circulating in some media sources that there were the shots fired at the protesters and that somebody was injured.

Egyptian soccer fans Ultras claimed they torn down American flag. They also stressed that they are planning to organize the additional rallies in attempt to express their protest over the insulting movie.

Egypt’s Security and Armed Forces were deployed to the Embassy and surrounded its territory, but they remained relatively calm and relaxed, without making any active moves against the protesters. Despite the tense atmosphere during the protests nobody was wounded.

But later the peaceful character of those protests has been changed when some of protesters started to set the fireworks which sounded as the gunshots. Other groups of demonstrators urged them to stay peaceful and not express the violence. Egyptian Army surrounded then the Embassy and was trying to pacify the protesters. There were also some claims that the representatives of different Salafi groups were also working together with Armed and security Forces to mediate during this conflict and to calm down the people.

It is also worth mentioning, that US Embassy in Cairo issued earlier on Tuesday, 11 September, an official statement regarding the situation with the controversial movie. They condemned those who hurt the religious feeling of Muslims producing such a movie. The statement said that it was the actions of some misguided individuals insulted Prophet Mohamed and trying to damage the relationships between the two countries.

The Egyptian Coptic Church also condemned this movie, as those who produced the movie were carrying out only their own agendas and do not represent either Egyptian Coptic Community or other communities of Coptic Christians.

Protesters at the US Embassy tearing down US flag
An official spokesperson of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Mahmoud Ghozlan announced in his turn that Muslim Brotherhood was planning to organize a million-man march on Friday to protest the film and to call on US administration to issue formal and public apology and prosecute its producers. But he stressed that the protests should remain peaceful and that Muslim Brotherhood is calling for demonstrators to avoid any violence.

Meanwhile Egyptian Foreign Ministry made its statement in reaction to the Embassy demonstrations and stressed the importance of protecting all the embassies and diplomatic envoys in Egypt. Egypt should prove the world that the country is safe and that its transitional period leads to democracy. The Ministry representatives added that such incidents as those embassy protests will have negative impact on the country’s image and shouldn’t be repeated.

There was also reported on Wednesday, 12 September, that Egypt’s Security Forces have already arrested four persons suspected of climbing on the walls of the US Embassy and tearing down American flag.

Egyptian Attorney-General Adel El-Saeed also announced on Wednesday that he had received five legal complaints regarding the film. He said he commissioned State Security prosecutors to start the investigations of the formal accusations against ten individuals who are allegedly involved in producing the controversial movie. They are reportedly foreign citizens, mostly based in USA.

Yasser Ali, an official spokesperson of Egyptian President, announced that Mohamed Morsy had instructed Egyptian Embassy in USA to take all legal steps against the individuals seeking to destroy relationships between Egypt and United States and to damage image of Egyptians and Muslim people.

It will be also recalled that the violent protests against this controversial movie happened in Libya and resulted in violent storming of US Consulate in Benghazi and killing of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other embassy workers.