Heavy Security Measures Outside French Embassy in Beirutإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Security measures were bolstered outside the French embassy and near the ambassador's official residence on Wednesday over fears of a backlash after the publication in France of cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
Lebanese armored personnel carriers deployed near the mission and outside the Pine Residence in Beirut, where the ambassador resides.
An army unit was also deployed around the French cultural center and armed guards posted at the gates.
French nationals in Lebanon received a text message advising them to be vigilant.
The embassy recommended them to stay away from gatherings and vulnerable buildings such as Western interests and places of worship.
"Be careful of your movements and stay away from large gatherings" and buildings that might be the site of protests, especially on Friday," it said.
France said it will close its embassies and schools in around 20 countries Friday because of fears of a hostile reaction to satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo's publication of the cartoons.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced that he had ordered special security measures "in all the countries where this could pose a problem."
The move by Charlie Hebdo followed days of violent protests from Asia to Africa against the U.S.-produced film "Innocence of Muslims" and turned France into a potential target of Muslim rage.