Beirut cartoon protests intensify

first_img Sabei said authorities had tried to prevent the protest from turning violent. “Things got out of hand when elements that had infiltrated into the ranks of the demonstrators broke through security shields,” he said. “The one remaining option was an order to shoot, but I was not prepared to order the troops to shoot Lebanese citizens.” Sabei, like other Lebanese politicians and Grand Mufti Mohammed Rashid Kabbani, spiritual leader of Lebanon’s Sunni Muslims, suggested Islamic radicals had fanned the anger. Kabbani said outsiders among the protesters were trying to “distort the image of Islam.” The United States accused the Syrian government of backing the protests in Lebanon and Syria. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Flames and smoke billowed from the 10-story building, which also houses the Austrian Embassy and the residence of Slovakia’s consul. Protesters waved green and black Islamic flags from broken windows and tossed papers and filing cabinets outside. Witnesses said one protester, apparently overcome by smoke, jumped from a window and was rushed to the hospital. Security officials said he died. Thirty people were injured, half of them members of the security forces, officials said, making it the most violent in a string of demonstrations across the Muslim world. All the injuries were from beatings and stones. Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said before meeting with top Islamic leaders that about 200 people were detained, and police said they included 76 Syrians, 35 Palestinians and 38 Lebanese. The first apparent victim of the political fallout from the violence was Interior Minister Hassan Sabei, who submitted his resignation. It was not immediately clear if the resignation was accepted. BEIRUT, Lebanon – Muslim rage over caricatures of the prophet Muhammad grew increasingly violent Sunday as thousands of rampaging protesters – undaunted by tear gas and water cannons – torched the Danish mission and ransacked a Christian neighborhood. At least one person reportedly died and about 200 were detained, officials said. Muslim clerics denounced the violence, with some wading into the mobs trying to stop them. Copenhagen ordered Danes to leave the country or stay indoors in the second day of attacks on its diplomatic outposts in the Middle East. In Beirut, a day after violent protests in neighboring Syria, the crowd broke through a cordon of troops and police that had encircled the embassy. Security forces fired tear gas and loosed their weapons into the air to stop the onslaught. The protesters, armed with stones and sticks, damaged police and fire vehicles and threw stones at a Maronite Catholic church in the wealthy Ashrafieh area – a Christian neighborhood where the Danish Embassy is located. last_img

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