The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen was the latest to be stormed by rioting protesters, as American flags were burned outside the building and the stars and stripes flying atop it was pulled down and replaced with a white Islamic flag bearing the words “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.”
Once again, the Department of State appears to have been completely unprepared for this action. Yesterday, seven embassies were warned of possible protests: those in Armenia, Burundi, Egypt (again), Kuwait, Sudan, Tunisia and Zambia. Not on that list: Yemen. At some point last night, an alert to possible demonstrations was posted on the Sanaa embassy’s website. Additionally, a travel warning for Algeria – also not on yesterday’s list – was issued this morning.
In Yemen’s capital of Sanaa on Thursday morning, black smoke billowed into the sky from burning SUVs inside the U.S. Embassy compound. Hundreds of angry demonstrators tried to storm the building, chanting “death to America” and death for the American filmmaker who made an anti-Islam film that helped spark a deadly attack on the embassy in Libya and protests in Egypt.
Protesters marched on the embassy from three sides before being blocked by Yemeni security forces. Some demonstrators were able to breach the security cordon before eventually being pushed back by troops firing tear gas and live ammunition into the air.
“They brought this on themselves,” Abdullah Rahman Safi shouted above the sound of gunfire. “We want to close the American embassy for this insult on prophet Mohammed,” he added, referring to the film Innocence of Muslims posted on YouTube depicting the Islam prophet Mohammed as a fraud and a womanizer.