Protests Over Anti-Islamic Movie Spreading In Asia; Indonesia Sees Violence

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Bangkok Protest
Muslim demonstrators protest in front of the U.S. embassy in Bangkok on Sept. 18, 2012

Protests in Indonesia over an alleged anti-Muslim movie made in the U.S. continued for the second day Tuesday, a day after demonstrations outside the U.S. Embassy turned violent, even as Google censored the video in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation to comply with the local law.

There were protests outside the U.S. Consulate in the country's third largest city of Medan with about 200 people burning an American flag and holding signs that said "Go to Hell America."

The protesters demanded U.S. government to punish those who produced the movie, "Innocence of Muslims," a low-budget U.S. production that portrays Prophet Mohamed as a fraudster, womanizer and a child molester.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Suhardi Alius told the Jakarta Post that around 400 protesters were detained for carrying dangerous material, including Molotov cocktails and slingshots with marbles, Monday. The protests outside the U.S. Embassy turned violent when the demonstrators began pelting stones and Molotov cocktails at security personnel.

Eleven police officers were hospitalized following the attack, the Associated Press reported citing Jakarta police chief Maj. Gen. Untung Rajab.

Police had deployed 300 officers and had 2,000 personnel on standby ahead of the rally. As tensions erupted, the police used teargas and the situation was brought under control more than an hour after the protesters disrupted peace.

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok said it would close at noon Tuesday and non-essential personnel be sent home in the wake of a planned demonstration involving several hundreds of people on Wireless Road in front of the embassy.

In a message posted on its website, the embassy said it was not aware of any specific threat to the U.S. citizens in Thailand.

"As a general precaution, the U.S. Embassy advises you to exercise caution and to be aware of your surroundings, particularly around large crowds or gatherings," the message said.

"Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence with little or no warning.  You should avoid areas that may be targeted for demonstrations and exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations or large gatherings," the message read.

More than 700 police, including anti-riot police and plainclothes officers, would be on guard at the embassy.

Afghanistan witnessed the anti-movie protests in the road leading to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul Monday when people protesting the movie started pelting stones at the policemen and Camp Phoenix, a U.S. military base along the road, while some set a police vehicle on fire, the Associated Press reported.

Some 20 policemen were injured and two police vehicles were burned in the violence that involved about 300 Afghans, news reports said.

Two protesters died Monday during demonstrations in Pakistan over the movie even as the government took measures to block the video on YouTube. Thousands took to the streets in towns and cities across the country burning the U.S. flags and effigies of President Barack Obama.

The protests in the Middle East and North Africa eased Monday after several instances of protests and attacks outside U.S. embassies and consulates in countries including Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan and Yemen.

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was among the four Americans who were killed in a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

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