- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2003

DAMASCUS, Syria, March 25 (UPI) — Hundreds of thousands Syrians took to the streets of Damascus Tuesday in the largest such anti-war protest, prompting security and police forces to arrest five who tried to reach the embassies of the United States and the Gulf countries.

The demonstrators were allowed to march towards the People's Council (parliament) away from the U.S. and Gulf embassies which have become a target of the Syrian protestors since the war on Iraq started last week.

Several hundred of them tried to deviate from the set course of the protest and storm security roadblocks to reach the U.S. embassy.

Anti-riots police confronted them and arrested five protestors on charges of attacking security men and inciting riots.

The protestors shouted against U.S. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and a number of Arab leaders.

"Instead of opening their countries' air space to the British and Americans, the Arab regimes should fight Israel and boycott American products," said Afaf Hassan.

The protestors raised placards that read: "No to aggression. No to new-Nazism" and waved pictures showing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon riding Bush who was portrayed as a donkey. Another picture showed Bush and his father as small and big donkeys.

The demonstrators shouted "Allah Akbar, (God is great) Iraq: we are coming" and waved Iraqi and Syrian flags. And urged Iraqis to remain "steadfast and remember the people who defeated America in Vietnam and Lebanon.

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