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Anti-Islam film row: western embassies on alert

world Updated: Sep 17, 2012 09:06 IST

Western embassies across the Muslim world remained on high alert on Sunday and the United States urged vigilance after days of anti-American violence provoked by a video mocking the Prophet Mohammad.

Germany followed the US lead and withdrew some staff from its embassy in Sudan, which was stormed on Friday.

Washington ordered non-essential staff and family members to leave its embassy there on Saturday. But the Khartoum government turned down a US request to send Marines to bolster security after the mission was attacked.

Non-essential US personnel have also been withdrawn from Tunisia, and Washington urged US citizens to leave the capital Tunis after the embassy there was targeted on Friday.

Although protests that peaked on Friday largely subsided over the weekend, a small group of protesters burned a US flag outside the US Embassy in the Turkish capital Anakara on Sunday.

Riot police blocked the road, keeping them about 100 metres (yards) from the building.

In the Pakistani city of Lahore, about 5,000 people gathered for a protest, chanting anti-US slogans, while in Karachi, police blocked off roads to the US consulate with shipping containers.

The violence is the most serious wave of anti-American protests in the Muslim world since the start of the Arab Spring revolts last year.

Worst over?
US defence secretary Leon Panetta said he hoped the worst of the violence was over but that US missions must remain on guard against any flare-ups.

"There continue to be some demonstrations but it would appear that there is some levelling off on the violence that we thought might take place," Panetta told reporters on Saturday.

The US had deployed a significant force in the Middle East to deal with any contingencies and teams were ready to respond to incidents, he said.