US Taking Steps to Protect Diplomats as Protests Continue

Posted September 19th, 2012 at 4:35 am (UTC-5)
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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States is taking aggressive steps to protect its diplomats, as protests continue against an anti-Islam film produced in the U.S.

Demonstrations prompted the American consulate in the Indonesian city of Medan to temporarily close on Wednesday, following a similar move by the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand a day earlier. Protests also took place Wednesday in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

Clinton said Tuesday that officials are reviewing security at every post and adjusting as necessary.

She also said the Libyan government is helping American investigators probe last week's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other diplomats.

Fury over the low-budget film that insults the Prophet Muhammad sparked protests, some of them violent, including at the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia.

Tunisia's Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem on Tuesday condemned the attack, saying political violence is not acceptable and that such an incident will never happen again. He promised to pursue those responsible for the violence.

Meanwhile, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has published cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad amid calls by government and religious leaders for restraint.

The weekly publication featured several images of the prophet in its Wednesday issue, including several of him naked.

The magazine's offices in Paris were fire-bombed last year after it published a mocking caricature of Muhammad.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stressed his “disapproval of all excesses,” while the country's foreign minister said security was being increased at French diplomatic posts.

Ayrault also said Wednesday that a request by organizers to hold a protest in Paris Saturday against the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims will be refused.