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Protesters storm Syrian embassy in Cairo

Jan. 27, 2012 at 1:30 PM   |   Comments

CAIRO, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Dozens of pro-democracy protesters stormed the Syrian Embassy in Cairo Friday, breaking windows and ripping the Syrian flag before dispersing, officials said.

Youssef Ahmed, Syria's ambassador to Egypt, said the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Office was warned of a possible threat during demonstrations marking the anniversary of the revolution that drove Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from office, but the government "failed to protect" the compound, CNN reported.

"Today we are paying for their carelessness," Ahmed said

Syria will demand compensation and hold the Egyptian government responsible, he said.

Britain's Guardian reported protesters broke the glass on a portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad and stomped on the picture repeatedly while others shredded presidential portraits and Syrian flags.

Egyptian protesters said they were attacked Friday near the state media building in Cairo where they rallied to demand an end to military rule in their country.

Activists said marchers were attacked by thugs and supporters of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces en route to Tahrir Square to mark the one-year anniversary of demonstrations that led to President Hosni Mubarak's ouster, Ahram Online reported.

Dr. Mahmoud el-Shinnawi, a member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, told Ahram Online security and police forces did nothing when marchers were attacked. He said he didn't see anyone injured, but the marchers split into two groups that took different routes to Tahrir Square, ground zero for last year's 18 days of protests.

Protesters have camped out in the square since Wednesday, activists said.

At least 27 pro-democracy groups had planned to participate in the protests, Voice of America reported.

Protesters such as Mohamed Gerisha called for the immediate end to military rule and the transfer of power to a civilian government.

"Our demand is to continue to the uprising, it is to move forward the transfer of power to civilians," he said. "We want to maintain the stability of the country."

Liberal politicians and activists say the council, which took control in the wake of Mubarak's ouster, uses the same tactics the former president employed to squelch dissent.

The military council, led by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, has promised to turn over power to an elected president by the end of June.

The powerful Muslim Brotherhood, once outlawed in Egypt but now the country's strongest political force, said it supported the mass rally.

Mubarak, his Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and six former aides of the ousted president are charged with complicity in the killing of hundreds of protesters. Mubarak and sons Alaa and Gamal Mubarak also face corruption charges.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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