Danish embassy in Beirut burned over Muhammad cartoons

[JURIST] Thousands of Lebanese Muslims angered at caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten [Jyllands-Posten archive in English] in September and last week were reprinted in other European newspapers [JURIST report] protested outside the Danish embassy in Beirut [official website] on Sunday and a small group set fire to the building [DR recorded video]. In a scene reminiscent of Saturday's protests [JURIST report] in Damascus, Syria where protesters burned the Danish and Norwegian embassies, police fired tear gas and water cannons in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Security officials said at least 18 people were injured, including policemen, fire fighters and protesters. An anonymous security official said embassy staff had evacuated the building two days ago in anticipation of protests and the Danish Foreign Ministry has urged Danes to leave Lebanon as soon as possible. Both Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and Lebanese Grand Mufti Mohammed Rashid Kabbani denounced the violence and urged calm. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs [official website] has posted a Q/A on the publication of the cartoons. Jyllands-Posten has apologized [JP letter to readers] for their original publication, but many newspapers across Europe have insisted on their dissemination and republication as a legal instance of free expression. AP has more.

 

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