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Protesters Rally in Syria, Libya, Jordan

March 26, 2003|From Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria — Hundreds of thousands of Syrians marched in their capital Tuesday, burning U.S. and British flags and demanding an end to the war a day after five Syrian civilians were killed in a U.S. missile strike in Iraq.

The demonstration, part of the largest Middle East protests since the war began, came as the Syrian government denounced the invasion.

After a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa Miro renewed Syria's call for "the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of U.S. and British invading troops from Iraqi territory," the Syrian Arab News Agency said.

Schools, universities and government institutions closed in Damascus while an estimated 500,000 people protested.

Marchers called Bush a "pig" and said British Prime Minister Tony Blair was Bush's "lackey and dog." They also yelled abuse at Arab leaders, calling Jordan's King Abdullah II a Zionist and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak a "dollar worshiper."

In the Libyan capital of Tripoli, hundreds of thousands chanted anti-American slogans as they marched to the Iraqi Embassy. Authorities reinforced security around the Kuwaiti, Saudi, British, and U.N. diplomatic offices.

In Amman, Jordan, members of Islamist, political and women's groups gathered to protest the war. The Jordanian government quietly supports the United States but tries not to anger its large Palestinian and Iraqi populations.

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