Sudanese demonstrators broke into the German embassy in Khartoum on Friday, raising an Islamic flag and setting the building on fire in a protest against a film that demeaned the Prophet Mohammad, witnesses said.
Police had earlier fired tear gas to try to disperse some 5,000 protesters who had ringed the German embassy and nearby British mission. But a Reuters witness said policemen just stood by when the crowd forced its way into Germany's mission.
Demonstrators hoisted a black Islamic flag saying in white letters "there is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet". They smashed windows, cameras and furniture in the building and then started a fire, witnesses said.
Firefighters arrived to put out the flames.
Employees of Germany's embassy were safe "for the moment", Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in Berlin. He also told Khartoum's envoy to Berlin that Sudan must protect diplomatic missions on its soil, a foreign ministry statement said.
It was unclear why the two European embassies were singled out since the film, which has outraged Muslims, was made in the United States, and U.S. diplomatic missions have been attacked by Islamist protesters in a number of Arab countries.
But Sudan has criticised Germany for allowing a protest last month by right-wing activists carrying a caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad and for Chancellor Angela Merkel giving an award in 2010 to a Danish cartoonist who depicted the Prophet in 2005, triggering demonstrations across the Islamic world.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has been under pressure from Islamists who feel the government has given up the religious values of his 1989 Islamist coup.
U.S. President Barack Obama's administration said it had nothing to do with the crudely made movie, which inflamed Muslims after it was posted with Arabic subtitles on the Internet, and condemned it as "disgusting and reprehensible".
The film was blamed for an attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on Tuesday, the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 al Qaeda attacks on the United States.