Last updated: 14 September, 2012

Fresh clashes at US embassy in Cairo over insult film

Fresh clashes between police and protesters, angry over a film apparently made in the United States that mocks Islam, erupted on Friday outside the US embassy in Cairo, an AFP reporter said.

Clashes had subsided earlier when police erected a wall of concrete blocks in one road leading to the American compound.

But protesters then moved to a different road where they hurled stones at police who responded with tear gas.

The clashes were taking place near several luxury hotels overlooking the Nile, and close to Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Earlier the Muslim Brotherhood withdrew calls for nationwide protests in response to the film “Innocence of Muslims” that mocks the Prophet Mohammed, saying they would instead take part in a “symbolic” demonstration.

“In light of the events of the last two days, the Brotherhood has decided to participate only in a symbolic protest in Tahrir Square, so that there is no more destruction to property, or injuries, or deaths, as has happened in the past,” the group’s secretary general Mahmud Hussein said in a statement.

Thousands had protested angrily outside the American embassy on Tuesday against the low-budget US film, with one group scaling the embassy wall and tearing down the flag.

The protest was followed by clashes between small groups of demonstrators — many of them in their teens and even young children — and police and security forces trying to keep them away from the US mission.

In Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egyptian protests, a few hundred demonstrators carrying banners and Islamic flags walked around the square.

“I’m ready for martyrdom,” one banner read.

“I love all the prophets, why do you hate mine?” read another.

Protesters carrying banners of the Salafist Nour party were also present among the small crowd that did not disrupt traffic around the square.

On Wednesday the Brotherhood had called for nationwide protests outside the main mosques in all of Egypt’s 27 provinces “to denounce offences to religion and to the Prophet.”

The movie, in which actors have strong American accents, portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.

It pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed and touches on themes of paedophilia and homosexuality, while showing him sleeping with women, talking about killing children and referring to a donkey as “the first Muslim animal.”