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Embassies become shrines

Munich memorial
Germany remembers: A memorial in Munich  

ROME, Italy -- United States embassies across the world are becoming shrines to the hijack attack victims.

From Europe to Africa, flowers and memorials have been laid at embassies and consulates even as they are sealed off on a heightened state of alert.

United Nations staff in Kenya held a ceremony on Thursday in the memorial garden built for victims of the 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

A total of 224 people had died in the Nairobi terrorist act blamed on Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden.

Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said on Thursday: "Americans are not the only victims. The evil hand of terrorists has hit the human race. We are all victims."

In-depth: America under attack  

In Italy, people across the country marched in processions partly in sympathy for the victims, partly as an expression of outrage directed at the killers.

Politicians joined union leaders and clergy to lead marches in cities across Italy.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said "rigorous" measures had been introduced to protect American interests -- both diplomatic and military -- in Italy as well as other potential targets such as airports and borders.

He added that it would be "inconceivable to leave the American ally alone" in what he described as "the darkest day in our history since the end of World War II."

An American mourner in London  

The U.S. Embassy in Rome and the consulates in Italy were closed to the public on Wednesday, but were due to reopen on Thursday, an embassy spokesman said.

Outside the embassy gate were dozens of bouquets of flowers left in memory of the victims of Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

"I watched TV the whole night. This morning I was just crying," Proscovia Crewgee, a British citizen, said as she left a bouquet. "So many innocent people died." Embassy spokesman Robert Callaghan said the United States was grateful for support from the government and the people of Italy.

"They have proved themselves more than allies. They have shown themselves to be friends," he told The Associated Press news agency.

At the U.S. embassy in Berlin, city firefighters laid roses to remember their colleagues killed when the World Trade Center collapsed as they searched for survivors.

And hundreds of mourners attended a memorial ceremony in Munich city centre to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks in the U.S.. Flags were flown at half-mast and a moment of silence was held.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and his Cabinet visited the Dublin embassy to sign a book of condolences and to lay flowers outside the building.

In London, Macedonia, Poland, Moscow the scene was being repeated again and again by the powerful, the public and Americans either on holiday or living abroad.

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