Fires at U.S. Embassy, American School in Tunis

Protesters set U.S. Embassy, American school ablaze

September 14, 2012

Hundreds of protesters lit fires, smashed windows, and threw bombs in a violent protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, leaving three dead and dozens injured, and an American school near the embassy "ransacked."

In the above video, captured from an Al Jazeera live stream of the situation in Tunis, heavy smoke can be seen and loud pops--presumably gunshots--can be heard. According to Reuters, police did open fire during attack on the embassy.

A photo of a dark column of smoke over the Tunisian site has circulated on the Internet Friday.

The image and video stand in marked contrast to the scene before the protests, while Tunisians assembled near the embassy:

Protesters also stormed an American school close to the embassy and "ransacked it," according to the New York Times:

All of the embassy staff members had been safely evacuated beforehand, officials there said, but part of the compound was burned and looted.

The American Cooperative School of Tunis, which caters to expatriate families and is located across the street from the embassy, was burned and completely plundered by protesters, who carried away a range of items including hundreds of laptop computers, children’s toys and musical instruments, the director of the school and members of his staff said. All of the students and faculty members had been evacuated hours before the embassy protest.

"It’s ransacked," the director, Allan Bredy, said in a telephone interview. "We were thinking it was something the Tunisia government would keep under control. We had no idea they would allow things to go as wildly as they did."

Like the embassy, dark smoke could be seen coming from the school: