CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian police fired tear gas to scatter about 100 activists who tried to storm the Syrian embassy in Cairo on Tuesday to replace the national flag there with a Syrian rebel one, a Reuters journalist said.
Activists and police also threw stones at each other, inflicting minor injuries on both sides, a security source said. Security forces arrested about five of the demonstrators.
The Syrian embassy in Cairo has been attacked several times in the past year, including one incident in February when activists protested about bloodshed in the Syrian city of Homs, where they said more than 200 people had been killed.
The Homs incident also prompted protests outside Syria’s embassies in Britain, Germany and the United States.
Tuesday’s attack took place the night before an Arab League meeting at its headquarters in Cairo that was expected to discuss the latest developments in Syria.
Egypt’s news agency MENA said the crowd had gathered earlier in front of the League’s headquarters, located near the Syrian embassy, and had marched from there to the embassy holding aloft pictures of Syrians killed in the violence between President Bashar al-Assad’s troops and armed rebels.
Activists in Syria reported clashes and shelling across the country on Tuesday, including heavy fighting between government forces and rebels in many suburbs of the capital, Damascus.
The level of violence has increased markedly in recent weeks in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule that began in March 2011.
Assad promised on Tuesday to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to expand its humanitarian operations in his country, where around 20,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands wounded, jailed or forced to flee their country.
Reporting by Youssef Rostom, Asmaa Waguih and Ali Abdelatti, Additional reporting by Amr Dalsh, Writing by Yasmine Saleh, editing by Tim Pearce