Protests Rage Across the Muslim World

by Patrick Brennan

Today was a planned “day of rage” all around the world, and sadly, it went off much better than any Occupy Wall Street iteration of the same ever did. As Andrew noted below, mobs overran the German and U.K. embassies in Khartoum, Sudan. Reports suggest that the U.S. embassy there may now have been breached too.

The Muslim Brotherhood had called for protests across Egypt today, but then retracted this plan, suggesting just a symbolic protest in Tahrir Square, of which Reuters has video here.

According to Reuters, protesters in Tunis have infiltrated the U.S.-embassy compound in Tunis, breaking windows, setting fire to trees, and taking down the American flag, raising the black shahada flag in its place. In Amman, Jordan, a protest dominated by Salafists (click the links for images) has been going on near the U.S. embassy, sporting the same black Islamist flag (closely associated with al-Qaeda).

In Tripoli, Lebanon, they went straight for the shining symbol of American decadence:

In Lebanon, where Pope Benedict arrived Friday for a three-day visit, hundreds of people set alight a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in the northern city of Tripoli on Friday, witnesses said.

Locals watching the attack said some people were shouting, “We don’t want the pope” and “No more insults (to Islam).”

At least one person was killed and 25 others were wounded in those protests, Lebanese officials said.

The pope, who was in Beirut, said the Arab Spring movement that saw several Middle Est dictators ousted and elections held — including in Egypt — was a positive “cry for freedom” as long as it included religious tolerance. But he added that it had to include tolerance for other religions. Asked about Christians’ fears about rising aggression from Islamist radicals, Benedict said: “Fundamentalism is always a falsification of religion.”

Activity around the U.S. embassy in Yemen seems to be slightly calmer than it was yesterday, with more presence from Yemeni security forces, but the U.S today announced that it has dispatched a Marines unit to protect U.S. interests there.

Protests also spread to Iran, where they centered on the Swiss embassy (which handles American affairs in Iran), and even further east, India-controlled Kashmir and Chennai. Mobs also flooded the streets of Bahrain and Qatar, typically more pro-U.S. and liberal states.

Reuters is providing live news from the horrors here; the BBC also has quality coverage.

UPDATE: The shahada flag over the U.S. embassy in Tunis, from Al-Jazeera (via @yarotrof):

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