TEHRAN, May 19 (UPI) -- Angry protesters took to the streets of Tehran Wednesday denouncing U.S. military operations in the holy Shiite cities of Najaf and Karbala in central Iraq.
The Iranian News Agency, IRNA, said thousands of demonstrators gathered at al-Inqilab square in central Tehran and marched to the British embassy where they staged a sit-in and shouted anti-U.S. and anti-British slogans.
The crowd pelted the embassy building with stones and burned effigies of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush.
They called for the withdrawal of American troops from Najaf and Karbala accusing foreign troops of desecrating the Shiites' holiest shrines in the two cities.
The protesters also burned the Israeli flag and accused Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of committing war crimes against Palestinians.
Dozens of Shiite insurgents led by rebellious cleric Moqtada Sadr were killed in the past weeks in fierce fighting with U.S. troops in central Iraq that reached the vicinity of Imam Ali mausoleum, the holiest Shiite shrine in Najaf.