On Monday, September 17, 2012, police in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, detained some 30 Muslim activists Monday while preventing a protest from breaking out near the United States embassy over a film mocking Islam that has triggered uproar in the Arab world, AFP reported.
More than 100 protesters chanting “God is Great” attempted to reach the embassy and stage an unauthorized rally against the film produced in the United States. The low-budget film, entitled “Innocence of Muslims,” has sparked fury for mocking the Prophet Mohammed and portraying Muslims as immoral and violent.
They were kept from advancing on the building by police wielding batons, with several protesters injured in the resulting clashes, an AFP correspondent said.
The embassy earlier Monday had issued a warning to US citizens about a protest “assumed to be connected to other anti-American demonstrations ongoing worldwide.”
Five days before, the embassy in neighbor Armenia had been among the first seven countries (all of them Muslim, except Armenia) to issue a similar warning on Wednesday, September 12. It noted, however, that “the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan has no specific information to indicate that these events will affect security in Yerevan.” (*)
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) was informed by Department of State sources, later confirmed publicly by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, that on the night of September 11, after the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the State Department “sent a message to every diplomatic mission in the world asking them to again review security and take the necessary measures. Some of you will have seen that there were increased emergency warnings or security warnings that were also issued to Americans in some 50-plus missions around the world since that went out.”
The AP reporter, Matthew Lee, who broke the story, saw the list of the seven initial alerts and ran with it. He could have made the distinction that Armenia, Zambia and Burundi had no specific threat listed in their notes, while the other four did. However, he stands by his reporting that the U.S. embassies in these seven countries acted first, perhaps believing that their specific situations were serious enough to merit posting an emergency alert to American citizens. He confirmed that list had been expanded to some 50 countries since then.
"Asbarez," September 17, 2012
(*) See Vartan Matiossian's article, "Armenia, a 'Muslim' Country," in this website (posted on September 12, 2012).