SANA, Yemen — Turmoil in the Arab world linked to a contentious video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad spread on Thursday to Yemen, where hundreds of protesters stormed the United States Embassy, two days after assailants killed the American ambassador in Libya and crowds tried to overrun the embassy compound in Cairo.
News reports also spoke of a separate protest in Tehran, where around 500 Iranians chanting “Death to America” tried to converge on the Swiss Embassy, which handles United States interests in the absence of formal diplomatic relations with Washington. Hundreds of police officers held the crowds back from the diplomatic compound, which Swiss officials had evacuated as a precaution, Agence France-Presse said.
For a third straight day, protesters scuffled with police in Cairo, news reports said, while in Iraq, a militant Shiite group, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, once known for its violent attacks on Americans and other Westerners, said the video “will put all American interests in danger.”
In Sana, witnesses said Yemeni security forces had tried to disperse a crowd at the fortified embassy compound in the east of Sana, the capital. But protesters broke through an outer perimeter protecting the embassy, clambering over a high wall and setting fire to a building.
They were forced to retreat after trying to plunder furniture and computers, the witnesses said.
Security forces guarding the embassy fired into the air as protesters set fire to two vehicles and burned tires. Protesters tore down and burned an American flag, replacing it with their own banner proclaiming the Islamic faith, witnesses said.