Breaking: Protesters climb walls of U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, take down American flags. U.S. personnel fire warning shots.
Angry protesters climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and hauled down its American flags, replacing them with black flags with Islamic emblems.
The incident prompted U.S. security guards to fire off a volley of warning shots as a large crowd gathered outside, apparently upset about the production of a Dutch film thought to insult the Prophet Mohammed, said CNN producer Mohammed Fahmy, who was on the scene.
An embassy operator told CNN that the facility had been cleared of diplomatic personnel earlier Tuesday, ahead of the apparent threat, while Egyptian riot police were called to help secure the embassy walls.
Earlier, the embassy issued a notice on its website warning U.S. citizens that “several different groups are calling for demonstrations” in Cairo on Tuesday “to protest a range of issues.”
From the embassy website:
Several different groups are calling for demonstrations in both downtown and Garden City this afternoon to protest a range of issues. These groups may gather in front of the U.S. Embassy, or Egyptian government buildings such as the People’s Assembly and Ministry of Interior, beginning in the early afternoon and continuing into the evening. It is unclear if large numbers will take to the streets, but clashes may occur should two opposing groups come into contact with one another. Large gatherings and non-essential travel in and around Downtown and Garden City should be avoided this afternoon.
U.S. citizens should avoid areas where large gatherings may occur. Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens in Egypt are urged to monitor local news reports and to plan their activities accordingly.