BEIRUT: The Amal Movement said Monday it would participate in protests called for by Hezbollah against a film insulting the Prophet Mohammad as Lebanese authorities said they would protect U.S. institutions in the country.
In an Amal statement following a meeting by its political bureau, the party voiced “support for the popular movements that will kick off today [Monday] in the southern suburb, in the south and Bekaa to denounce this tragedy-scandal against Islam and Muslims.”
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah called Sunday for a series of protests in Lebanon against “Innocence of Muslims,” which insults the Prophet Mohammad and sparked ongoing protests in several countries against the United States.
Last week, protesters in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli clashed with security forces
Protests against the film that originated in the U.S. continued in Lebanon Sunday, with a group burning American and Israeli flags in Tripoli, north Lebanon. One protester was killed and over 27 others were injured Friday when stone-throwing demonstrators protesting the film clashed with authorities. The protesters also set fire to U.S. food chains KFC and Hardee’s.
In his televised speech on Al-Manar television, Nasrallah also accused the White House of seeking to sow strife between Christians and Muslims.
Amal said Monday that the insult was a “deliberate” act aimed at distorting Islam’s image.
They also echoed Nasrallah’s demand for an international law that would prohibit insults to the three celestial religions and their prophets.
Protests against U.S. Embassies in Libya and Egypt among others prompted President Barack Obama to order his administration last week to do whatever is 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."
On Sept.12, a day following the beginning of protests against the film began, a U.S. ambassador and three other staff members were killed when the U.S. Consulate in Libya was attacked. The U.S. says the assault began with a “spontaneous” protest over the video.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Monday his ministry was coordinating with security forces to protect U.S. businesses in the country in the event of protests.
"There is coordination with security agencies to protect American institutions,” Charbel told Voice of Lebanon radio station.
The U.S. Embassy in Awkar, north of Beirut, has bolstered its security measures. Members of an elite force were seen guarding the road leading to the U.S. mission.
On Sunday, the Lebanese 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, according to a Daily Star reporter on the scene.