Sudanese demonstrators broke into the German embassy in Khartoum yesterday, raising an Islamic flag and setting the building on fire in a protest against a film that demeaned the Prophet Mohammed, witnesses said.
Police had earlier fired tear gas to try to disperse some 5,000 protesters who had ringed the German embassy and nearby British mission. However, a Reuters witness said policemen just stood by when the crowd forced its way into Germany’s mission.
Demonstrators hoisted a black Islamic flag saying in white letters “there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.” They smashed windows, cameras and furniture in the building and then started a fire, witnesses said.
Firefighters arrived to put out the flames.
Employees of Germany’s embassy were safe “for the moment,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in Berlin. He also told Khartoum’s envoy to Berlin that Sudan must protect diplomatic missions on its soil, a foreign ministry statement said.
It was unclear why the two European embassies were singled out since the film, which has outraged Muslims, was made in the US, and US diplomatic missions have been attacked by Islamist protesters in a number of Arab countries.
Meanwhile, Egyptians angered by the film on Friday hurled stones at a line of police in Cairo blocking the route to the US embassy, where demonstrators climbed the walls and tore down the US flag earlier this week.
“God is greatest” and “There is no god but Allah,” one group near the front of the clashes chanted, as police in riot gear fired tear gas and threw stones back in a street leading from Tahrir Square to the embassy nearby.
About 300 people had gathered to protest, some waving flags with religious slogans. State media reported that 224 people had been injured since Wednesday night. The initial protest took place on Tuesday.
The Muslim Brotherhood had called for a peaceful nationwide protest against the film yesterday.
Security forces in Yemen blocked streets surrounding the US embassy in Sana’a yesterday, bracing for violent protests against the film, a day after demonstrators stormed the heavily fortified compound and clashed with police.
Hundreds of people gathered at a mosque near the embassy for prayers yesterday, carrying placards and shouting slogans against the film.
A soldier on duty near the embassy said security forces were expecting more demonstrators to arrive after the prayers.