At Least Eight Killed in Day of Violent Protests Over anti-Islam Film

Protesters reported killed in Sudan, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon;Turkey's Erdogan calls for restraint; Protests reported in Sydney on Saturday.

At least eight were killed in the violent protests against an internet video insulting the prophet Mohammed that swept the Muslim world on Friday.

In Tunis, at least two people were reported to have died in the clashes, and dozens were wounded, when a crowd stormed the U.S. embassy. In Sudan, the German, British embassies and U.S. embassies were subjected to attacks. At least three were reported killed after the U.S. embassy was stormed.

Angry crowds took to the streets of many cities across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, ignoring an earlier plea for calm from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

"There is no question that there's anti-American sentiment in various countries around the Middle East. That's not a discovery I think we've made today," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. "What is the case is that the protesters in these countries are not representative of the broader sentiment in those countries."

In the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, at least one person was killed and 25 wounded during clashes with police. Protesters vandalized a KFC restaurant in the port city before setting it on fire, Lebanon's official National News Agency (NNA) reported. The violence came as Pope Benedict XVI was on a three-day "peace pilgrimage" to Lebanon.

In Cairo, where the protests had first started, Muslim worshippers gathered after noon prayers and chanted slogans in support of the prophet and against the United States. Two were later reported killed in the clashes.  

More than 250 people were injured Thursday in Egypt in the fiercest clashes since Mohammed Morsi became the country's first Islamist president in June. On a visit to Italy, Morsi pledged his government's "utmost determination" to protect foreign diplomatic missions and tourists.

"Throughout the world, governments have the obligation to defend and protect diplomatic missions, tourists and all (foreign) guests ... and we do it," the Egyptian leader said.

On Saturday the AFP reported that the protests had spread as far as Australia, with hundreds of Muslim demonstrators gathering outside the U.S. consulate in Sydney. The protesters shouted "down, down USA," and waved banners reading "Behead all those who insult the prophet," among other slogans. 

The UN Security Council on Friday condemned the attacks on Western embassies in Muslim countries and called on governments in the region to honor their obligations to protect diplomatic missions and staff. The Security Council on Wednesday condemned Tuesday's assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans including the ambassador.

In the eastern Libyan port of Benghazi, several suspects were arrested late Thursday in connection with Tuesday's attack on the U.S. consulate, in which the ambassador and three other Americans were killed. Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif did not release any details on the arrests.

The remains of the U.S. ambassador and the three other Americans were flown to the United States, US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met the caskets in a memorial ceremony.

Some of Friday's biggest protests took place in Bangladesh, where an estimated 10,000 people marched after prayers from the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in central Dhaka toward the U.S. embassy, police said.
In Nigeria, police fired into the air to disperse protesters in the city of Jos. There were no reports of casualties.

With protests also taking place in Afghanistan, Jordan, Iran and Yemen and the Palestinian territories, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the Muslim world to show restraint.  

"This film, which insults Islam and the prophet, is evil and provocative," Erdogan said during an official visit to the Ukrainian resort city of Yalta. "But anyone who turns to violence is himself attempting to provoke Muslims. And we will not accept such provocations."

In Tehran meanwhile, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on the U.S. to punish the producers of the anti-Islam video.

"If the American officials are sincere in their claim that they have nothing to do with this film, then they must punish all elements behind this huge, ugly crime," Khamenei said.

The crudely made video, titled Innocence of Muslims, shows the prophet Mohammed as a womanizer and paedophile. It was produced privately in the U.S. and has been condemned both by Obama and Clinton.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is traditionally pro-U.S., joined in the chorus of condemnation of the film, calling it "shameful and irresponsible."

Earlier, the UN secretary general had called "for calm and restraint" and stressed the need for dialogue.
A statement on his behalf said that while "nothing justifies such killings and attacks," the video that reportedly sparked the demonstrations was "hateful" and "appears to have been deliberately designed to sow bigotry and bloodshed."