Anti-Assad protesters break into Cairo, Berlin embassies

Activists vandalize both buildings; Rallies against Syrian president also held in United States, UK; Assad forces kill more than 200 in Homs; UNSC due to vote on Syria resolution.

February 4, 2012 06:55
2 minute read.
Syrian protesters outside Cairo embassy [file]

Anti-Assad Syrian protesters outside Cairo embassy 390 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Activists protested at embassies across the world Friday against Syrian President Bashar Assad's crackdown on citizens. Rallies in both Cairo and Berlin degraded into riots as people broke into and vandalized embassies, while activities remained peaceful in the United States and Britain.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has waged a bloody campaign against the a pro-reform movement, which has led to more than 5,600 deaths. More than 200 people were killed overnight Friday in shelling by Syrian forces in the city of Homs.

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In Cairo, Syrians activists stormed the Syrian embassy, smashing furniture and equipment and setting fire to parts of the building in protest over the latest bloodshed in the country, an embassy official and a witness said on Saturday.

Embassy official Ammar Mohamed said he had been told by security officials about the overnight attack and arrived at the site to assess the damage. The scene was calm by early morning and Egyptian police were guarding the embassy.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at a police station a few streets from the embassy to demand the release of six Syrians who they said were detained during the protest at the mission.

The gate of the embassy in central Cairo was broken and furniture and computers were smashed on the second floor of the building, a Reuters witness said, viewing the site after the attack. Parts of the first floor were burned, he said.
It was the second such attack on the mission. The embassy was broken into last week in another protest against Syria's crackdown on protests against President Bashar Assad's rule.

In Germany, a group of about thirty Syrian protesters charged into Syria's embassy in the Berlin district of Tiergarten Friday, demolishing sections of the interior, according to German media reports.

The action prompted a strongly worded statement from Germany's Foreign Ministry, as a spokesperson condemned the occupation of Syria's diplomatic building. "Attacks on embassies and consulates must be prosecuted with all consequences," said the representative of the German Foreign Ministry, adding that the security of embassies is a matter to be taken seriously.

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The Syrian dissidents hung flags of the Syrian resistance movement and Syrian Kurds from embassy windows on the first floor of the building. On the façade of the embassy, the Syrian protesters wrote slogans in English and Arabic calling for "Revolution and Freedom" and "Down with Bashar." They left the embassy after approximately twenty minutes.

The Berlin police arrested the protesters, who were later released from custody. Syria's government has filed criminal charges against the activists.

The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to meet Saturday to vote on a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing an Arab League plan calling for Syrian President Bashar Assad to give up power. staff contributed to this report.

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