10/30/2008, 00.00
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Tens of thousands of Syrians in a “spontaneous” anti-American demonstration

Protesters shout anti-US slogans; carry photos of President Assad, to protest against a US helicopter raid inside Syrian territory that left eight people dead.
Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tens of thousands of Syrians took part in a “spontaneous” demonstration today in Damascus against the US raid on Abu Kamal, a small town near the border of Iraq. People carried banners with President Bashar al-Assad’s picture and slogans like “No to American terrorism” or “Allah, Syria, Bashar”.

Demonstrators gathered in Youssef Admeh Square, in downtown Damascus, and marched towards the US Embassy about 1.5 kilometres away where they met hundreds of Syrian riot police in full gear ringing the building with two fire engines parked nearby.

Every indication was that the crowd’s “anger” would remain within limits.

Today’s rally follows yesterday’s in Abu Kamal, the small border town where the attack, according to the Syrians, killed “eight innocent civilians” and whose target, according to the Americans, was a top al-Qaeda official in Syria.

“Thousands of angry demonstrators took to the streets on Wednesday in Abu Kamal City on the Syrian-Iraqi borders, protesting the heinous US Sunday attack,” Syria’s state news agency SANA reported.

During the event protesters “stressed that the American aggression represented a flagrant violation of international laws, calling on the international community to shoulder responsibility over this American crime against innocent civilians,” the same source said.

The US Embassy in the Syrian capital announced yesterday that it would be temporarily closed today.

An American school and cultural centre had already been shut down on orders of the Syrian government as retaliation for the attack.

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