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article imageShots fired as protesters storm US embassy in Yemen

By Greta McClain     Sep 13, 2012 in World
Sanaa - Reports say protesters in Sanaa Yemen have stormed the grounds of the American embassy. Like the protesters in Egypt and Libya, the Yemeni demonstrators are angry over an anti-Islam film made in the US.
Hundreds of angry protesters began trying to storm the embassy Thursday. Witnesses have told Reuters that protesters first smashed security office windows outside the embassy before breaking through the main gate of the heavily fortified compound. The embassy sign and American flag were both torn down and burned. Security police responded by deploying water cannons and firing warning shots in an effort to push the crowd back according to Voice of America. However, the BBC is reporting that shots were fired directly into the crowd.
Despite reports of heavy gunfire, the Yemen embassy in Washington said there were no casualties reported. The statement, which was emailed to Reuters, said the Yemen government condemned the attack and saying that security forces have restored order.
File photo: Protesters in Yemen attack US embassy
File photo: Protesters in Yemen attack US embassy
Screen Capture
The statement went on to say: Fortunately no casualties were reported from this chaotic incident. The government of Yemen will honour international obligations to ensure the safety of diplomats and will step up security presence around all foreign missions.
Nasser Araybee, a journalist based in Sanaa, told The Guardian the violence began after a radical Yemeni cleric, Sheikh Abd al-Majid al-Zindani, called for protest. Zindani has been accused by the US of supporting terrorism. Araybee went on to say:
Smoke could be seen from every where. [Initially] we thought it was the building but it was cars that were burned. There is no one in building now, and security is very heavy. The firing has almost seized. There are hundreds of protesters outside the building.
Based on reports by three friends in the area, Araybee continued by saying:
"The mood is very very bad. The area is very afraid because of the firing. Many residents told me that children were horrified, because of what they heard. After they saw the smoke a lot of them started to move. Now it is getting quieter and quieter."
The attack comes just two days after the Yemeni government announced that al-Qaida's No. 2 leader in Yemen was killed in an apparent U.S. airstrike. Yemen is home to al-Qaida's most active branch and the United States is the main foreign supporter of the Yemeni government's counterterrorism campaign.
American flags outside the US embassy in the Tunisian capital of Tunis were also burned. Despite calls for calm by the Egyptian President, protests outside the American embassy in Egypt continued. The Jerusalem Post quotes President Morsy as saying "Expressing opinion, freedom to protest and announcing positions is guaranteed but without assaulting private or public property, diplomatic missions or embassies."
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