Obama Admin braces for spread of anti-US protests
Washington: Apprehending spread of anti-US protests after weekly Friday prayers today over a film deemed offensive to Islam, the Obama Administration said that it has beefed up security of its missions across the globe and was closely monitoring the situation.
“We are monitoring the situation and the security of our embassies and our facilities and our personnel around the world,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters abroad Air Force One.
Carney’s remarks came as waves of anti-US protests continue throughout the Muslim world, with demonstrators displaying fury over a film made by Israeli-American Sam Bacile that deemed offensive to Islam.
The demonstrators in Libya attacked the US consulate building in the city of Benghazi on Tuesday, killing American ambassador and three other consulate staff. The protests have spread to Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Iraq and other countries.
“It is important to note that as these protests are taking place in different countries around the world, responding to the movie, that Friday, has historically been a day when there are protests in the Muslim world,” he said.
“We are watching very closely for developments that could lead to more protests. We anticipate that they may continue,” Carney said.
The protests being seen around the region are in reaction to this movie, he said.
“They (protests) are not directly in reaction to any policy of the United States or the government of the United States or the people of the United States,” he said.
“Any violence associated with the offense taken by the movie, of course, is unjustified, as we’ve made clear,” Carney said.
Carney said the Obama Administration is coordinating with the governments in the region and making sure that there’s a clear understanding about the responsibility of host governments to protect diplomatic facilities and personnel.
“The President, very early after the incidents occurred in Benghazi and Cairo, directed that precautions be taken to enhance security at embassies and facilities around the world. And that is continuing to take place,” he said.
Responding to questions, Carney said it is hard for some people around the world to understand why the US does not prevent movies like this from seeing the light of day.
“For one, that is impossible in today’s world, as you know. But, furthermore, and more importantly, our country has a long tradition of free expression, which is protected by law. Our government does not and cannot stop individual citizens from expressing their views,” he said.
“Those of us who care about religious tolerance and who respect religious beliefs must not allow a tiny minority of people to provoke conflict between different religions, cultures, and countries. All leaders must draw a stark line against violence,” Carney said.