Some 200 people were injured in clashes in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, a deputy head of the Egyptian capital’s ambulance service said on Thursday.
“Eight people were hospitalized and the others were given first aid at the scene,” Ahmad Al-Ansari told reporters.
Riot police fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who were throwing stones and “Molotov cocktails.”
Violence swept through Muslim communities around the world following the posting on Tuesday of a short film dubbed "Innocence of Muslims" on YouTube. The movie has been denounced as offensive to Prophet Mohammed and immoral.
Protests in Cairo started on Tuesday, when crowds of local residents breached the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down the U.S. flag. Angry demonstrators were later pushed out beyond the compound’s perimeter, but they continue to block access to the building.
The standoff is likely to continue into the weekend. The powerful Islamist movement the Muslim Brotherhood called on Egyptians to gather for a nationwide protest action on Friday following evening prayers.
The film has been actively promoted by a Florida pastor, Terry Jones, who gained notoriety for threatening to burn and then burning a copy of the Koran, which set off riots in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011, the New York Times reported.
The most serious fallout from the controversy over the film so far occurred in Libya, where U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed on Tuesday in an attack on the U.S. consulate building.