Anti-American Protests Hit Australia As Anti-Muslim Filmmaker Is Taken Into Custody
Anti-American demonstrations have spread as far as Australia, where riot police and about 200 protesters clashed on Saturday.
In Sydney, protesters gathered outside the American Consulate. According to CNN:
“As the United States strengthened security at diplomatic stations amid the anger, demonstrators clashed with police outside the American Consulate in Sydney.
“Carrying signs that read: 'Obama, Obama, we like Osama'and 'Behead All Those Who Insult the Prophet,' hundreds of protesters gathered on the steps of the consulate."
The police used pepper spray and tear gas on the protesters, which resulted in the medical treatment of 17 people affected by the pepper spray.
The protests in Australia comprise part of a series of spreading anti-American protests, which have affected the U.S. embassies and consulates in over 20 countries. The U.S. has taken protective measures as a result, the New York Times reports:
The U.S. State Department “confirmed that protesters had penetrated the perimeters of the American Embassies in the Tunisian and Sudanese capitals, and said that 65 embassies or consulates around the world had issued emergency messages about threats of violence, and that those facilities in Islamic countries were curtailing diplomatic activity.”
The threat to U.S. embassies and consulates has potentially increased with a statement from Al-Qaeda in Yemen. According to USA Today,
“Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen has praised the killing of the U.S. ambassador in Libya and called for more attacks to expel American embassies from Muslim nations.
“It said protesters’ aim should be to ‘expel the embassies of America from the lands of the Muslims’ and called on protests to continue in Muslim nations ‘to set the fires blazing at these embassies.’”
The reason for these anti-American protests, of course, is the production of an anti-Muslim film. As CNN reports:
“From Morocco to Malaysia, thousands of Muslims have taken to the streets in recent days – with sometimes deadly results – over the release of a 14-minute trailer, privately produced in the United States, that mocks the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and ruthless killer.”
On Saturday night, police brought into custody the man believed to be the filmmaker of the anti-Muslim movie, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. The L.A. Times reports:
“Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.
“Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies escorted a man believed to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula to an awaiting car. The man declined to answer questions on his way out and wore a hat and a scarf over his face. He kept his hands in the pockets of a winter coat."
Nakoula had previously been convicted of financial crimes, and may have violated the terms of his release – he was banned from using computers and the Internet after being convicted of bank fraud. The probation department is now reviewing his case.
Nakoula voluntarily left his home on Saturday, and is being interviewed by federal probation officials.
Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of the anti-American protests here.