Jessica: Anti-American protests that began earlier this week in Egypt and Libya is spreading to other Arab countries, including Yemen, where yesterday protesters attacked the U.S. embassy.
Hundreds of people took to the streets – throwing rocks, burning tires, and trying to tear down the main gate to the U.S. embassy, located in Yemen’s capital, Sana. Security guards were able to hold off the demonstrators and embassy officials say there were no injuries.
But many people have been hurt in Egypt, in the days of violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces guarding the U.S. embassy in Cairo.
When protesters began throwing rocks, riot police responded with tear gas.
This wave of anti-American rioting turned deadly in Libya on Tuesday. An attack on the U.S. consulate offices in Benghazi killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and several Libyan security officers.
The U.S. has since pulled out all Americans, and the Navy has sent warships to the Libyan coast.
The protests are linked to an anti-Islamic film produced here in the U.S. The film portrays the Islamic prophet Mohammed in a very negative way. Just showing an image of the prophet is offensive to Muslims.
“The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message.”
Clips of the film, which had been uploaded to YouTube back in July, didn’t get much attention until last Saturday.
That’s when an Egyptian talk show host broadcast the clips in Arabic.
The videos quickly went viral throughout the Middle East. YouTube has since begun restricting the film in certain countries.
Last year’s so-called Arab Spring brought a great deal of change and uncertainty to many Arab countries, including Egypt Libya and Yemen.
People seeking freedom and an end to corruption rose up against their longtime leaders. But many of those countries remain unstable.
During the Libyan uprising, the U.S. and NATO worked with the rebels to overthrow their leader, Moammar Qaddafi.
Ambassador Stevens and his staff played a big role in helping the Libyan people achieve lasting peace and stability. He made this message for the Libyan people:
“Now I’m excited to return to Libya to continue the great work we’ve started.”
Many Libyans have now come out in support of the U.S. Pictures posted online show Libyans holding signs – apologizing for the extremists behind the attacks, and calling ambassador Stevens a friend.