Protesters storm Syrian embassies in Europe, M-E
AFP LONDON DOZENS of Syrian protesters were arrested on Saturday after storming their country’s embassies in cities in Europe and the Middle East, smashing windows and setting fire in one case. Missions in London, Athens, Cairo, Kuwait City and Jeddah were hit in protests on Saturday, following a similar raid on the regime’s embassy in Berlin the previous day.
The attacks came as Syria’s opposition said troops had committed a “massacre” overnight, killing more than 200 people in the central city of Homs, and as the UN Security Council readied for a crucial vote. In London six people were arrested early in the morning after protesters broke into the Syrian embassy, police said. Around 150 demonstrators had gathered outside the plush property in central Belgrave Square.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said five people had been arrested for gaining access to the building after the demonstration started around 2:00am. A sixth person was arrested for assaulting an officer.
“We will keep an eye on the situation and keep an appropriate policing plan in place,” the spokesman told AFP.
Some of the embassy’s windows were reportedly smashed during the protest.
In Athens, about 50 mostly Syrian protestors broke into their country’s embassy, smashing windows and painting anti-government slogans on the walls, a police source said. Police detained 12 Syrians and an Iraqi.
In Cairo, dozens of activists tore down the gate to the embassy in the upscale Garden City neighbourhood, ransacked the mission and set fire to its ground floor.
An AFP correspondent said the embassy’s walls were charred and broken glass littered the ground, along with damaged furniture and computers.
In Kuwait City, embassy guards repelled protestors by firing shots in the air. At least two people were injured in the scramble to flee gunfire, the independent Kuwait Association for Human Rights said on its Twitter page.
A security source told AFP that several people were arrested. In Jeddah, dozens of Syrians demonstrated outside the consulate, chanting “with our souls, with our blood, we sacrifice ourselves for the martyrs,” before being dispersed by security forces.
A day earlier in Berlin around 20 protesters broke into the Syrian embassy and “destroyed furniture, hung a flag from a window” and wrote slogans on the walls.
All were arrested but released after police took their details.
The actions came after Syria’s army randomly bombarded the protest hub of Homs overnight, killing at least 260 civilians in one of the “most horrific massacres” in the country’s uprising, an opposition group said.
In a statement in Beirut, the Syrian National Council urged the world to act and demanded that Russia change its position in the UN Security Council and condemn President Bashar al Assad’s regime.