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Clashes erupt around Cairo's US embassy
Security forces and protesters lock horns around US embassy in Cairo late Wednesday as clashes continue till next day; demonstrators call for apology over film that critics say demeans Islam and Prophet Mohammed
Ahram Online, Thursday 13 Sep 2012
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Embassy
Embassy Clashes Clashes continue Thursday morning around the premises of the US embassy in Cairo (Photo: Bassem Abo-Elabass)

Clashes at the US embassy in Cairo erupted late Wednesday and continued till the morning of next day, as around 200 protesters and Central Security Forces (CFS) threw rocks back and forth.

Some of the demonstrators – most of whom are young and not bearded like many of the protesters who had participated in Tuesday's rally at the US mission – also hurled fire bombs at the CFS, who in return used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

Earlier on Wednesday, crowds of angry, mainly Muslim, protesters gathered before the US embassy to denounce a short film, which critics say demeans Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

It is not clear, however, what ignited the confrontations afterwards.

State-run news agency MENA reported that the protesters are from the football Ultras fan groups, who tried to "break into the headquarters of the embassy" but the CSF protected the premises against the attack. Backed by many armored vehicles, police have cordoned off the site. 

On Tuesday, Egyptian protesters took down the American flag from the walls of the US embassy as a thousands-strong demonstration held to condemn the film, which is reportedly produced by a California-based filmmaker called Sam Bacile. An AP report, however, indicates that Bacile may be a pseudonym for a Coptic-Christian living in California.

The Ultras White Knights – Zamalek Club's hardcore football fans – claimed that members of their group had brought down the US flag. While group members have since retreated from the scene, they say they are planning additional rallies to protest the film.

Yet the group categorically denied instigating violence on Wednesday.

"Our members are not present around the US embassy now. We stress that our participation in the demonstrations was peaceful, we just wanted to send a message (to authorities)," Ultras White Knights said in a statement on their Facebook page in the midst of the clashes by dawn.

"We condemn and reject the continuation of the same repressive and unfruitful tactics used by security forces in dealing with such situations." 

The battle on Wednesday, which lasted till after dawn, was moved away from the headquarters of the US embassy after the security personnel forced the frenzied crowd to move back towards the nearby Tahrir Square.

A police vehicle was reportedly set on fire.

Initial reports also said that several protesters were injured, most of whom suffered the effects of tear gas. An official injury toll has yet to be revealed.

The security forces, who according to MENA have arrested a number of protesters, also used loudspeakers to warn the demonstrators against approaching the now heavily-fortified embassy.

"We would sacrifice our blood and soul for the prophet," chanted protesters, most of whom did not carry banners or placards, every now and then during the clashes.

Demonstrators have demanded since Tuesday an apology from the US government for the film, saying that if no such apology was issued by Friday they would stage an open-ended sit-in.

On this Friday, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist parties and others are planning a million-man rally in Tahrir Square to vent their anger.





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9



HASIM
13-09-2012 08:32pm
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FROM MOVIE TO MAYHEM
a worthless movie who know one i talk to has heard of ,is now f interest because of some maniacs from Egypt and amazing are leaders are once again saying one thing while encouraging this barbaric behavior . time for true muslims to take a stance against these bigot fascistic mullahs and politico,s and make are country one of tolerance education and true peace we trade mubaric for this shame on all
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8



Iskander
13-09-2012 10:35am
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Nothing better to do than protest for a stupid movie?
Those ignorants don't even know what they are protesting for and should have a look inside themselves and their country, trying to do something good for Egypt and its people instead of throwing stones at the police and attacking embassies with no reason. This is ridiculous and certainly doesn't help in the perception of Islam as a tolerant and peaceful religion. It's a pity.
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Kevin
13-09-2012 08:40pm
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You are right...
You are right that Islam is NOT a tolerance NOR peaceful religion. If you don't believe me, just look at all the women that have been murdered and disfigured by "honor killings." That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard of and it is courtesy of Islam.
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Ray Gibbs
13-09-2012 09:06am
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U. S. Enbassies
As an American I am sorry for the ugly "film" (made in my country) demeaning Islam & the Prophet. Peace.
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Kevin
13-09-2012 08:45pm
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I'm not sorry...
Crawl in a hole and hide Ray, that is the best thing for you to do. Obviously, you do not believe in freedom of expression. You also did not make the film, so your apology makes is sound like you are bowing down to these people. If the Muslim world cannot handle freedom of expression, they will never be able to handle a real democracy. Islam is not a peaceful religion.
ak
13-09-2012 01:00pm
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No need for apology
Dear Ray, I am sure tens millions of Americans will share your feelings and wish this would not have happened. Unfortunately, these violent events bring this film to the attention of the whole world and can do nothing to serve the cause of Islam. If these people have kept their cool and calm, this film would have remained unknown and will go into the rubbish bin un-noticed with no one protesting!!.
Gypo
13-09-2012 11:21am
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You have no reason to be sorry
There's no reason for you to be sorry. You didn't personally make the film! The States shouldn't be sorry either, it's not like its own government made and sponsored the movie!
Iskander
13-09-2012 10:39am
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Nothing to be sorry about..
First of all the movie is not even american, it's produced by israeli people. America has nothing to do and even less the government of the USA or the people at the Embassy. Even if they was sponsoring it, it's still not a reason to do what they are doing as we, in our countries, are free to express our opinions and to make ironic movies like this one. I also feel offended to see women wearing niqab but I don't go outside and kill their husbands for this!!
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Adel Masry
13-09-2012 06:40am
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Let us Make a movie
The movie does NOt attacke ordinary muslims; but the extremists who hijacked Islam. Let us expose those criminals who have nothing to do with Islam. I am glad that someone has the gut to do it. Let us expose our home-grown terrorists and save Islam.
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Omar, Alex
13-09-2012 06:36am
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Appeal to Isslamic Scholars
I pray for Allah (SWT) to guide you in defining who is the "Islamist" and protect Islam from being hijacked by terrorists. How you allow murderersw who disobey Allah law to be called "Islamists"? We need to protect merciful Islam from those criminal fanatics. The movie exposes those criminals and and NOT attacking Islam. Allah (SWT) Aqber.
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Mona, Alex
13-09-2012 06:30am
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Fake Islamists
The movie is exposing terrorists who claimed to be "Islamists". For exampls: Haqqani group turned mosqes into killing fields, Hamas is drug lord of Iran/Afghanistan opioms, Qa-edah are innecent people murderers (it is a sin in Islam), Algerian Islamists are blooding killers, Brothehood are hijacking Islam and lie (great sin in Islam), the list goes on. It is time to expose those fanatics. Allah Kabeer.
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Mona
13-09-2012 09:41pm
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Fake slanderer
Hamas was never a drug lord! They have nothing to do with Afghanistan. Stop your hatred.
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Aladdin
13-09-2012 06:25am
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Exposing Terrorists
The movie does not attack muslims or the prophet inste4ad expose those extremists and murderers who falsly claim to be Islamists. It is the price we as moderate and true muslims pay for the smear of the extreme fanatics who even disoey ALlah Laaw and his prophet (SAWS) Sunnah. I am a good muslim and professional in advance scienc. I did not study Islam (e.g Fiqh, Sirah, hsitory, 44 shareha, etc.) or servied muslim community (marriage, divorce, etc.) to be called Islamists. Do not damage our new relationship withy US.
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Colin
13-09-2012 03:53am
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And you wonder why we regard Islam as the religion of intolerance, hatred, and murder
Hopefully the US will cut off all foriegn aid to Egypt and Lybia. Those protesters could only have made it over the embassy walls if the police allowed them to. And even worse - you attacked the embassy on the anniversery of 9/11. Do you really think that this was about some losers getting upset about a film that is an obvious hoax? This was a coordinated attack on us that was if not aided by the Egyprian govrenment - they knoew about it and did nothing to prevent it. And when Muslims in the US complain about the fact that nobody trusts them - you are the ones who are convincing us that our families are not safe if there are Muslims around.
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Dr. Malek Towghi - - Michigan, USA
13-09-2012 07:16pm
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Completion of my earlier posting
3) [President Obama should] issue a statement saying that the totality of relations between the US and the Brotherhood-Salafi-ruled Egypt requires revaluation and reconsideration. President Obama should also assert in this statement that no US government can deprive its citizens of the right to freedom of thought and speech given by God and guarenteed by the US constitution.
Dr. Malek Towghi -- Michigan, USA
13-09-2012 10:55am
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President Obama, Immediate, Firm & Tangible Action, Please!
Colin, I agree with all that you have said. President Morsy is mistaken to think that the civilized world is too dumb to understand - - or too weak to respond to - - his cunning and dangerous games. Although the ultimate victims of the Ikhwan-Salafi government's jihadi adventurism will be Egypt's own downtrodden and brainwashed people, I, as an Obama-supporter, am afraid that President Obama will confront Jimmy Carter's fate in the November 2012 elections IF he (President Obama) does not, immediately, firmly and tangibly respond to President Morsy's extremely disappointing statement on what has happened to our embassy in Cairo. As a first tangible and firm step, President Obama should immediately 1) close the Egyptian embassy in Washington, D.C, asking its personnel to leave within 48 hours, 2) recall our heroic diplomats and supporting staff as a protest, and 3) issue a statement saying that the totality of relations between the USA and the Brotherhood-Salfi-ruled Eg
hunter
13-09-2012 10:41am
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ignorance
If you want to learn about "intolerance, hatred, and murder" as you say, I recommend you revisit recent European/western history.
ak
13-09-2012 08:33am
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Let us get all the facts
Dear Colin, Islam is indeed a religion of tolerance and peace; and violent events such as these ones most certainly will not serve the cause of Islam. I do not believe that the Governments in Egypt or Libya are supporting or behind these events. From a distance far away from the centre of events you views can be understood but I do not think they are justified until all the facts are known. As a Muslim living in the west, I can understand the anger when insulting any religion and any prophet (for example Mohammad or Jesus Christ). In a western society, we cherish the free press and freedom of expression; we are well informed; we may demonstrate peacefully to make our point of view known then we go home. Getting access to or attacking foreign diplomatic missions, taking down and burning the flag of any country should not be part of a peaceful demonstration. I understand the US Administration has no control over the press and film production etc because this is a free and democra
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Dina
13-09-2012 03:18am
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Enough is enough
I have not been to Egypt in 5 years and I was dying to go and see my family and visit the country. I don't think I will ever go back to Egypt again. My father is there to see his family as well, and I am so scared for him. I pray he returns safetly. Every time I think it will be ok to go to Egypt and things are getting better I am proven otherwise. I cannot believe these protests are continuing, and that more are being called for Friday. What do these people want? The US will not apologize because they did nothing wrong. It was the act of some stupid individuals and Egyptians have proven once again that they cannot hand things in a mature and logical way. Instead of moving forward and worrying about more pressing matters like economy and security we are bogged down with a 13 min video that no one has heard of. Shameful.
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ak
13-09-2012 12:43pm
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There is light at the end on the tunnel
Dear Dina, I can understand your anger and frustration, but in the Middle East, when democracy is still in its embryonic state, brain washing is going on and extreme religious views can spread fast when people are less educated or worse-off, so violent reactions to an unknown film, claimed to be insulting Islam, can be expected. What needs to be implemented in Libya, Egypt and other new democracies with US support and voices like yourself, is educating the public about tolerance, democracy and freedom of expression under the law.

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