Palestinians disperse after holding protests against anti-Islam film in East Jerusalem

Four arrested when hundreds try to march toward US consulate in the capital; German, UK embassies attacked in Sudan, protests in Gaza, Egypt, Jordan; protester killed in Lebanon

Palestinians take part in a protest against a film mocking Islam at the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, on Friday (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Palestinians take part in a protest against a film mocking Islam at the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, on Friday (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in Jerusalem against the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims,” and attempted to march on the US consulate, before being dispersed Friday afternoon following minor clashes with security forces.

In Acre, in northern Israel, a larger demonstration — numbering in the thousands — was held, with protesters denouncing the film, and also calling for an Islamic state.

Thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip took to the streets on Friday to protest the film, as protests took place across the Arab and Muslim world. In Gaza, Islamic Jihad and other extremist factions urged residents to demonstrate.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that the film was meant to spark a war against Islam and that the US government should apologize to the Arab and Muslim world.

A senior Islamic Jihad official in Gaza said that “the Zionists and the crusaders” joined forces to defame Islam and urged the closure of Israeli and American embassies in all Muslim countries.

Protesters leaving prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque marched from the Temple Mount to the Old City’s Damascus Gate, some of them throwing stones at police. Several hundred Arabs then attempted to march toward the nearby US consulate and were repelled by stun grenades, according to Israel Radio. A number of Israeli police officers were lightly injured. Four protesters were arrested. After about two hours the protesters dispersed.

A large demonstration against the film was also held in the Bedouin city of Rahat in the Negev. MK Taleb el-Sana said that though Israel said it was not behind the film, It was responsible for the riots because it allowed settlers to burn mosques. “Whoever plays with fire will eventually get burned,” he said.

On Thursday, about 100 Israeli Arabs protested outside the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. The demonstration was peaceful, but protesters blasted the US for allowing the production of the film, which depicts the prophet Mohammad as a womanizing lunatic.

Protests erupted on Friday in other Muslim countries, as well.

In Egypt, crowds formed early near the US Embassy in Cairo, and clashes with security officials and several arrests were reported. Security forces used tear-gas to keep demonstrators away from the US Embassy. President Mohammed Morsi said that while Muslims needed to protect Islam, Egypt also needed to show respect for, and protect, foreign diplomats based in the country.

Hundreds of Jordanians also took to the streets in Amman, burning American flags and shouting, “Listen Obama, we are all Osama!”

One protester was killed and several were injured in Lebanon.

Hundreds stormed the German Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, burning car and trash cans as police fired tear gas. The protesters scaled fences and reached the embassy building, setting parts of it on fire. Germany said embassy staff were safe. The British Embassy in Khartoum was also attacked.

More protests were reported in Indonesia, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Yemen.

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