Protests erupt at Syrian embassies around the world


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The Independent Online

Angry scenes erupted outside the Syrian embassy in London today just hours after a number of demonstrators were arrested for storming into the building.

Russia and China veto UN resolution on Syria

Following the protest in the early hours of today, crowds gathered again in Belgrave Square, central London, and clashed with police and hurled missiles at the building, amid reports of more than 200 people killed in a deadly barrage in the city of Homs.

Rocks and bottles were thrown at the embassy, shattering windows, as police attempted to quell heated scenes.

The clashes came as protesters forced their way into four other Syrian embassies in European and Middle Eastern cities.

Officers fought back a surge towards the embassy as crowds forced their way through barricades towards police in riot gear.

Shouts of "free Syria" and "we want to close the embassy" rang out in protest against the Syrian regime's brutal repression of the country's uprising.

As passions flared, protesters climbed on top of barriers before police reinforcements arrived in large vans and the demonstrators were driven back across the road.

After some confusion and a brief confrontation with officers who had their sticks drawn, the group was penned in behind barriers across the road from the embassy.

The heated scenes come after Scotland Yard held five people for gaining entry to the embassy in the early hours of the morning when around 150 demonstrators descended on the building.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said a number of people were arrested for public order offences while another individual was detained on suspicion of assaulting a police officer.

The deaths in Homs met with international condemnation amid intense diplomatic efforts at the United Nations to secure approval of a resolution.

Russia has been resisting pressure to accept an Arab-led draft calling for president Bashar al Assad to step down and democratic elections held.

US President Barack Obama said the deaths were the result of an "unspeakable assault" by Assad on his own civilians.

At least 5,500 people have died in the 11-month pro-democracy uprising.

Foreign Secretary William Hague accused the regime of "cold-blooded cynicism" and urged countries not to give it "shelter".

"The time is long past for the international community, particularly those that have so far sheltered the Assad regime, to intensify the pressure to end over 10 months of violence," he said.

The latest casualties were "all the more chilling" as they were sustained on the 30th anniversary of the Hama massacre in which 20,000 people died at the hands of the Syrian army, he added.

In Europe, protesters reacted by forcing their way into the Syrian diplomatic base in Athens, while similar scenes played out at embassies in Berlin, Cairo and Kuwait yesterday.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) condemned the London break-in which led to two police officers being taken to hospital with minor injuries following the early-morning demonstration.

Russia and China veto UN resolution on Syria