Original Post: Hundreds of protesters have descended on the U.S. embassy in Yemen, raising concerns of another violent incident involving American diplomats in the Middle East. Witness reports are very sketchy at this point, but images being broadcast on CNN show large crowds in the capital of Sanaa shouting, waving banners, setting fires in the streets, and throwing debris toward the walls of the compound. Some protesters have even tried to climb the gates, but it doesn't not appear that they've been able to get into the heavily fortified buildings.
There were early unconfirmed reports that protesters had breached the walls of the compound and had been fired on by security forces, but Aadam Baron, a reporter working in Yemen, tweeted that those reports were exaggerated. Another reporter, Hakim Alamsmari, called into CNN saying the protesters are unarmed and have not breached the gate, though guards have fired some tear gas. The situation is reportedly under control at the moment and the embassy is secure, but there is still a danger that things could escalate.
The protest appear to be directed at the same anti-Muslim movie that spread anger across the Muslim world, like those in Cairo and Benghazi. (Protests in Cairo have also continued today, but have been slightly more controlled.) However, since the demonstration in Benghazi was apparently hijacked by al-Qaeda linked terrorists, there is a danger that militants in Yemen could attempt a similar move. Al-Qaeda in Yemen has been among the most active terrorist groups in the world in recent years, and the one receiving the brunt of U.S. retaliation. Frequent drone missile attacks on Yemeni soil have enraged average citizens, as well as jihadists fighters, and anti-American sentiment runs much higher there than it does in Libya.
There were also a smaller protests at the U.S. embassy in Sudan, in the streets of the Nigeria city of Jos, and at the Swiss embassy in Tehran. (Switzerland represents American interests in Iran, as the two countries have no formal diplomatic relationship.) A cleric in Kuwait has also called for more protests tonight at the embassy there.
UPDATE 4:44 a.m.: AFP is now reporting that one protester was shot and killed by police outside the Yemen embassy.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.