Protesters Attack 5 Syrian Embassies

Published February 4, 2012 3:09PM (EST)

LONDON (AP) — Demonstrators have stormed five Syrian embassies in Europe and the Middle East after Syrian forces reportedly killed more than 200 people in the city of Homs.

In Europe, protesters forced their way into the Syrian embassies in London and Athens on Saturday, prompting some arrests and causing minor damage.

British police said six people were arrested following a demonstration that began in London at 1 a.m. GMT Saturday (8 p.m. EST Friday) and drew around 150 protesters.

Scotland Yard said five men were arrested for forcing entry into the embassy on London's wealthy Belgrave Square, while a sixth was arrested for assaulting police. Scotland Yard said all six remain in custody.

A similar scene played out in Athens, where police said 13 people — 12 Syrians and one Iraqi national — were detained after forcing their way into the Syrian Embassy before dawn.

In Germany, 20 people forced their way into Syria's Embassy in Berlin on Friday and damaged offices there, police said.

Syrian protesters in Cairo set part of the embassy on fire Friday night, while protesters in Kuwait broke windows at the embassy and hoisted the opposition flag. The Kuwait news agency said a number of security personnel were hurt in scuffles.

Syria's government has denied the assault on Homs, calling news reports about it part of a "hysterical campaign" of incitement by armed groups against Syria, meant to be exploited at the U.N. Security Council as it prepares to vote on a draft resolution backing an Arab call for President Bashar Assad to give up power.

A vote was scheduled in New York later Saturday, but negotiations were continuing to the last minute as Russia, a strong ally of Syria, signaled it would veto any call for a political transition in the country.

The Syrian National Council, Syria's main opposition group, urged Russia to stop its "shameful intransigence" at the U.N. and for the world to help stem the bloodshed. It also called for Syrians to protest outside their embassies.

By Salon Staff

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