Mohammed mocking film protest flares

Last updated 08:14 17/09/2012

Dozens of Turkish protesters torch a US flag in anger over a film mocking the prophet Mohammed. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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A small group of protestors burned a US flag outside the US embassy in Turkey’s capital Ankara on Sunday in protest against a film mocking the prophet Mohammed, while several dozen others chanted slogans against US policy in Syria.

The protesters from two separate groups, one an Islamist organisation and the other a workers’ party, carried banners including one which read "Murderer America! Get out of Turkey!"

Riot police backed by water cannon blocked the road outside the embassy, keeping the protesters around 100 metres from its walls, and the group dispersed in less than an hour.

Fury about the amateurish film of obscure origin tore across the Middle East after weekly prayers on Friday with protesters attacking US embassies and burning American flags.

The violence largely subsided on Saturday but the Pentagon has bolstered security at its missions in the region.

Turkey’s ruling AK Party, in power for the past decade, has Islamist roots but the country has a strong secular tradition and protests against the United States have been peaceful and on a far smaller scale than in other parts of the Middle East.

Sunday’s protest coincided with a visit to Turkey by General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is expected to discuss the crisis in neighbouring Syria and Turkey’s domestic security with his Turkish counterparts.

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- Reuters

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