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VIDEO: Egypt army builds wall near US embassy as protesters brace for Friday rally
As street fighting continues near embassy overnight, Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist Nour Party call for Friday protest against anti-Islam film, while warning followers against directing anger at innocent parties
Bel Trew, Ahram Online , Friday 14 Sep 2012
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US embassy
Egyptian army building a new concrete wall at Midan Simon Bolivar to block protesters from US embassy Cairo. (Photo: Ghazala Irshad)

Clashes between protesters and Egyptian Central Security Forces continued near the US embassy in Cairo's Garden City district into the early hours of Friday morning as demonstrators insisted on voicing their rage over a film produced in the US that mocks Islam and the Prophet Mohamed.

Members of the military have begun constructing a concrete barricade on a street leading to the American embassy in downtown Cairo, as fierce clashes between dozens of protesters and Egypt's security forces continued through Thursday night in the vicinity.

Two days into the fighting, which has left dozens injured, police continued to rein tear gas on protesters to stop them from accessing Latin American Street where the security barrier is being built.

Ahram Online reporter on the police side witnessed security forces apparently arresting demonstrators on Friday morning and in some cases heavily beating those dragged off to be detained.

During the night, hundreds of young men chanted against the police and called for people to "respect The Prophet", making reference to the recent anti-Islam film produced in America that sparked the initial protests at the US embassy on Tuesday.

Protesters armed with Molotov cocktails and rocks, pelted Egypt's security forces who responded with large amounts of tear gas flooding the area in plumes of smoke. Dozens of plain-clothed civilians with rudimentary weapons could be seen fighting alongside the security forces.

By midnight, numbers had dwindled but the fighting continued, with some Ultras (hardcore football fans) chants being heard, although it is not possible to confirm if the Ultras were there in an official capacity.  Protesters were repeatedly pushed back as far as Qasr Al-Nile bridge on one side and Qasr Al-Aini Street on the other, intermingling with the traffic.

As dawn approached, the central security forces, in a pincher movement charged at protesters from Qasr Al-Aini Street and via Omar Makrum Mosque, eventually occupying nearby Tahrir Square.

At this point military engineers bought a large crane and vehicle carrying concrete bocks to Latin America Street, which leads to the US embassy, and started to build the barrier.

The demonstrations first erupted on Tuesday when news of the film, entitled The Innocence of Muslims, reached the wider Egyptian public. The film, originally thought to have been made by US-based Coptic-Christian activists, was produced by Israeli-American filmmaker Sam Bacile.

The film, which explicitly degrades the Islamic faith and its symbols, sparked protests in several Muslim countries this week, including Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and Iraq. During a protest on Tuesday in Benghazi, Libya, a simultaneous attack on a US consulate led to the death of four US diplomats, including US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

Ongoing demonstrations near the US embassy in Cairo, meanwhile, turned violent late on Wednesday following protests during which security forces appeared to avoid conflict. Thursday, by contrast, saw security forces firing teargas and shot-gun pellets in an effort to disperse the angry crowds. Exchanges of rocks and Molotov cocktails quickly ensued.

According to the latest health ministry figures, 224 protesters have been hurt so far, most of them sustaining minor injuries. According to official statement, only eight cases have been taken to hospital.

While clashes remain ongoing on the fringes of Cairo's Tahrir Square – near the now-iconic Omar Makram Mosque not far from the embassy – several groups condemned the violence, while also calling for a peaceful million-man rally on Friday.

Muslim Brotherhood Secretary-General Ahmed Hussein, for one, has backed calls for a Friday protest. The Brotherhood, he said, was calling for demonstrations in front of all major mosques throughout Egypt's provinces to condemn the assault on Islamic religious sentiment.

Abdel Rahman El-Barr, a member of the group's guidance bureau, had earlier denounced the attacks on the US embassy, which protesters managed to breach on Tuesday, spraying graffiti on the building's walls and burning the US flag that had been perched in its courtyard.

El-Barr said that Egyptians must protect the embassy premises, asserting that attacks on the embassy violated Islamic precepts.

Egypt's Salafist Nour Party, meanwhile, likewise condemned the ongoing embassy clashes. In a Thursday statement, the party said that it "strongly condemns using violence and vandalism to express our objections to this offensive work, especially if protesting involves attacking embassies and terrorising diplomatic missions."

Both groups called for resorting to legal action. The Nour Party called for prosecuting the filmmakers, while Muslim Brotherhood lawyers have already filed a lawsuit towards this end.

Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar, for his part, told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website on Thursday that efforts were currently underway by young Salafist and Brotherhood cadres to cordon the embassy grounds off from aggressive protesters.

Bakkar also said he had communicated with embassy officials with the aim of defusing the crisis.

Tareq El-Zomor, spokesman for Egypt's Gamaa Islamiya movement, had earlier described the removal of the embassy flag as "illegal and against Islamic Law." The group also declared its intention to participate in the planned Friday protest.

The offensive film has been criticised by a plethora of Egyptian public figures, parties and groups of different political backgrounds.  Egypt's prominent Al-Azhar, for its part, has called for "level-headedness" when dealing with attacks on Islam and its symbols, while warning Muslims against directing their anger towards innocent parties.  

Earlier on Thursday night, Egypt's security forces had retreated from Cairo's Simon Bolivar Square, which lies off the street that houses the embassy's main entrance. Nevertheless, torrents of teargas continued to greet the hundreds of protesters still hurling stones at Central Security Forces deployed around the embassy's precincts.  

 

Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx9qicsICuw&feature=youtu.be





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mo
16-09-2012 11:34am
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religion of peace?
there are accusations that this region is full of violent and unreasonable people, and then something like this happens to confirm that to the rest of the world . please use your mind, dont listen to stupid people and think violence is a solution. if u want, make a film making your story clear, if it is a clear story.
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27



Doug Thomson
16-09-2012 10:10am
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What a shame
It is very difficult for one such as I, living is a secular democracy, where freedom of speech is one of the pillars of our existence, to comprehend the violence spawned by this ridiculous film. To our eyes it is madness. (By the way, the author of the film WAS NOT an Israli American. The authors are reported to be, "Egyptian-American, Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih, the president of the Duarte-based charity Media for Christ, and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a convicted felon from Cerritos, emerged as forces behind "Innocence of Muslims.") The sad part of this whole reaction is that I suspect that the violence is exactly what the authors wanted. One can speculate on their motives, they are a sad and foolish pair, but to give them such power ... the power to spawn death and destruction, to destabilize international relations, and to foment such hatred is so very tragic. For a proud and ancient peoples to fall prey to the machinations of these men seems ridiculous.
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26



Nile Sayed El Wardani
15-09-2012 08:07am
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Undermining Democratic Revolutions and Initiatives in the ME by Any Meanings Possible.
If you are interested to truly understand the situation which the NY TImes and WSJ got all wrong bc they did not really investigate read: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/13/egypt-libya-hollywood-film There are many individuals, organizations and governments around the world that will do anything to make sure democracy does not work out in Egypt and the ME in general. This is one of those stories, unfortunately.
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25



roy
14-09-2012 05:46pm
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Enemies of the USA will produce more films insulting Prophet Muhammaed.
What would happen if the enemies of the USA will keep on producing films like that one that the Muslims are currently protesting? Will the Muslims keep on attacking US embassies in their countries? It's so easy now to produce short films and upload these films in YouTube. Be reasonable please. Don't harm innocent Americans.
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Mona
15-09-2012 05:39am
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Yes enemies of the USA will
thy are known to the Government ..the extremist Christian Evangelists as Pastor Jones, I cant speak for Asia Moslems and what happened in Libya. I hope people in Egypt will listen to wise elders and ignore provocations with dignity.Violence calls for violence is a loss of time. Peacefull protests is powerfull.
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mary roberts
14-09-2012 04:29pm
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A Correction and update
"The film, originally thought to have been made by US-based Coptic-Christian activists, was produced by Israeli-American filmmaker Sam Bacile." This sentence in the article has the facts backwards and is false. The film, originally thought to be produced by an Israeli-American filmmaker Sam Bacile, was produced by an EGYPTIAN-American, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula who has used several false names and is on probation after serving time in prison in the US for fraud and drug charges. According to law-enforcement officials on Thursday, Nakoula has been confirmed as the writer and director of Innocence of Muslims. He calls himself a Coptic-Christian..( but is disavowed by Egyptian Coptic Christian leaders!) in cooperation with a few rightwing extremist Christians who are already of concern to American authorities and who have committed other provocative acts and are considered fuelers of hate.. These are disgusting individuals who are looked at as crazy and fringe people in the US
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23



Ray Gibbs
14-09-2012 12:54pm
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U. S. Enbassies
Another day: never "Walls" between friends.
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22



Secret for protection
14-09-2012 11:34am
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Harming Innocent People WRONG!
Islam should teach (which I am SURE it DOES) its followers to use their deep seated EXTREME emotion for positive purposes. This "movie (??)" is ONLY the view of one man. The actors were getting paid. No one went to the ONLY 1 showing in the states and the hits on YouTube prior to this incitement was less than 20. NO ONE anywhere in the world knew of this movie! That is not until some group or 1 person dubbed it into Egyptian Arabic. We in the developed world would NEVER give up our right to love God as we choose. Not one of us believe the Prophet Mohamed was this kind of man. This man (the writer) spoke for himself...says he is an Israeli Jew...Israel has never heard of him. This whole thing got blown out of proportion...and what did it? Emotion...a divine gift from God, used in a hateful, angry and negative way. The movie's premise was born this way and the result or reaction to it is wrought with it. The Prophet Mohamed forgave those that criticized him. God sent the world the Prophe
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21



Acquoi James Samuel
14-09-2012 11:32am
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LET US SAY NO TO VIOLENCE
If the said movie that was produced will embrace violence, the US Government should abolish it immmediately for the sake of peace. I pleeding with the US Government to pls have the movie confiscated in order to safe the massive and other US Agencies in and around the world. A good name is rather to chosen then precious silver and gold. Samuel
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Nile El Wardani
15-09-2012 08:14am
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Yes to Democracy and Peace!
Yes to peace and democracy!!! If you are interested to truly understand the situation which the NY TImes and WSJ got all wrong bc they did not really investigate read: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/13/egypt-libya-hollywood-film There are many individuals, organizations and governments around the world that will do anything to make sure democracy does not work out in Egypt and the ME in general. This is one of those stories, unfortunately.
20



Jared
14-09-2012 11:20am
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Uninformed
I'm an American who has never heard of this film, nor do I endorse it in anyway. Blaming/harming the U.S. government and innocent people for a horrible film made by morons is more absurd than the film itself. I'm sorry that such an idiot produced that film on our soil, but please do not blame the entire country for the actions of one person.
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19



Ben
14-09-2012 11:07am
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Protestors
Noone in the US even knows of this film nor would they want to watch it. This person is originally from Egypt they are saying and is a fraud. He should be punished, not the innocent American people or Embassy who had nothing to do with this and who would never approve such disrespect. Punish the man who did it...not the innocent.
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