AWKAR, Lebanon: Authorities stepped up security measures Sunday around the U.S. Embassy in Awkar, north of Beirut, amid reports of planned mass demonstrations in the southern suburb of the capital over the anti-Islam film that has fueled protests against foreign missions in the region.
The Army and police boosted their numbers at several points along the road leading to the embassy, deploying special units from the military and Internal Security Forces, a Daily Star reporter on the scene said.
Security measures were taken around the premises of the embassy in Awkar following protests against American missions in the Middle East over “Innocence of Muslims,” a film that insults the Prophet Mohammad.
Four U.S. citizens, including an ambassador, were killed on Sept. 12 during a raid on the American Consulate in Libya. Their attackers are suspected of using protests of the anti-Muslim film to stage an assault on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York.
Last week President Barack Obama said he had ordered his administration to do whatever was necessary to protect Americans abroad and that aides had been in contact with other governments "to let them know they've got a responsibility to protect our citizens."
In Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah-stronghold, a demonstration is planned for Monday against the film, which has continued to spark protests across the region and a number of other countries.
Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah will deliver a televised speech Sunday evening in which he is expected to call for mass participation in the protest against the film, which originated in the United States.
The United States has denounced the movie that targets Muslims.
In the northern city of Tripoli, one protester was killed and more than 27 policemen were injured when stone-throwing demonstrators clashed with security forces and set fire to a branch of KFC and Hardee’s.
The Army has strengthened its presence around U.S. fast food chains in Beirut and the coastal city of Sidon.