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Demonstrators set fire to Danish and Norweigan embassies in Damascus

February 5th, 2006 · 24 Comments · Uncategorized

Thousands of protesters have broken through lines of police officers to break into the embassies of Denmark and Norway in Mezzeh.

They replaced the flags with signs reading ‘La Ilaha ila Allahu Muhammadu Rasul Allah’. Danish and Norweigan citizens have been advised to leave the country urgently. No-one was hurt, and it seems that none of the protests were directed at people – they were highly symbolic.

The protesters then headed towards the French embassy nine kilometres away in Jisr Al-Abyad but police sucessfully blocked all roads leading into the area.

It’s unclear what impact the protests will have on Syria’s relationship with the countries affected.

During the Iraq war, police lined the streets of Abu Roumaneh and encircled the American, Jordanian and Egyptian embassies to prevent anyone getting close. They succeeded.

Today’s protests will surely bring back painful memories of the 1991 Gulf War when Syrians managed to get inside the heavily fortified American Embassy complex in Maliki and pulled down the American flag. They also broke in and caused millions of dollars worth of damage which Syria had to pay for (thanks Annie). Since then, embassies have been more heavily protected in Damascus than even government buildings.


24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 norman // Feb 5, 2006 at 5.55 am

    what happened today in Syria is regretable but the assult started from Danmark and Norway it is an assult against all Arabs and Muslems yes Syria should appoligies and pay for the renovation and increase decurity but we should ask these countries to pass laws that will protect from insult agains Islam and christianity like the ones they have to prevent anti semitism untill then economic boycut by the people is more hurtfull to then burning any embassy.

  • 2 norman // Feb 5, 2006 at 6.04 am

    The Baath party made mistakes in Syria but not bacause of poor princibles ,the Baath party stands for unity,freedom and social justise for one Arab nation with a mition to improve humanity does anybody disagree with these princibles, I doubt it the problem is having one party system whch prevent competetivness ,that will change by having more partie that can discuss ideas and improve Syria,

  • 3 Anonymous // Feb 5, 2006 at 6.30 am

    This is more than about religion; I myself, a Westerner, am tired of seeing the daily assaults against Arabs or muslims, be they Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrians, and soon Iranians, and what about the encroaching settlements in a deafening silence, and what about Holocaust day and why not a Nekba day where a “land without people” was stolen from a very real people and continues to be be so ? Although I understand the rage there was no excuse to let the demonstrators burn these embassies; how are you going to feel the day the Danes burn the Syrian embassy ? And Norman, you are just a little too obvious to be efficient.

  • 4 Leilouta // Feb 5, 2006 at 10.55 am

    I don’t even understand the rage myself.
    Why aren’t we protesting against our corrupt societies first?

  • 5 The Syrian Brit // Feb 5, 2006 at 12.40 pm

    I despair…

    What the hell is wrong with our People??…

    What on Earth do they think they achieve when they burn flags and torch embassies??… What do they think this uncontrollable demonstration of venom and hatred says about Islam and Muslims?..

    I tell you what they have achieved.. they have confirmed, in a most convincing fashion, to the whole world that WE ARE the terrorists.. that WE ARE the blood-thirsty thugs.. that WE ARE everything our enemies describe us as.. and worse..

    How can any of us now say ‘Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance’??..

    It might be said that these hideous acts were carried out by ‘agents provocateurs’, It might be said that those who did it are regime puppets.. it might even be said that they are foreign agents with a different agenda.. Nevertheless, these acts were carried out in the name of Islam, under the guise of defending it.. What a sickening farce.. I say to all those bastards who attacked the Embassies and burnt flags and vandalised properties.. ‘Not in my name.. Never..’

    I have never in my life felt ashamed to be Syrian.. I do now… yesterday was a dark day in Syria’s modern history..

    I just despair…

  • 6 annie // Feb 5, 2006 at 1.42 pm

    “WE ARE the terrorists.. that WE ARE the blood-thirsty thugs.. that WE ARE everything our enemies describe us as.. and worse..”
    Absolutely not. You are enraged because the West has dealt one blow too many and the Danes have paid for Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and the daily outrage of Iraq and the dead Palestinians children and the future holocaust in Iran

  • 7 Anonymous // Feb 5, 2006 at 3.02 pm

    honestly do u prefer abu ghreib or the syrian prisons ?

    stop your hypocrisy ,these crimes against humanity does happen daily in syria.

    ‘Methods of torture include: stretching the body on a ladder; suspension from the wrists; electric shocks; pulling out the finger nails; dripping acid on the feet; the insertion of a broken bottle into the anus; prolonged flogging… We have, or have seen those who have, all experienced such blind methods of torture. Bodies of some took years to recover from the effects of torture, but the bodies of others have permanent disabilities.” Letter smuggled out of a Syrian prison in January 2000

    Other methods of torture and ill-treatment which have been reportedly used by state officials:

    – Violently shaking

    – Tying up the victim in painful positions for prolonged periods

    – Flogging

    – Prolonged exposure to cold or heat

    – Forcibly use of drugs

    – Sterilization without consent

    – Threatening the victim

    – Threatening to hurt friends or relatives of the victim

    – Refusal to provide adequate or proper medical treatment

    Most of syrian prisoners have university decree,doctors, engineers and univ professors….

  • 8 Anonymous // Feb 5, 2006 at 4.27 pm

    You’re insulted? Well let me tell you something…I’m extremely insulted when I turn on the television and see the United States flag being desecrated in your country. But you know what, we don’t throw tantrums and burn embassies or your flag…but you wonder why your religion is getting a bad rap around the world.

    Come on people…this is ridiculous.

  • 9 annie // Feb 5, 2006 at 4.31 pm

    It is not a matter of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. Both are unacceptable: the abu ghraibs and the syrian prisons. Don’t we know that had yesterday’s demonstration been about houqouq el insan, there would have been troops galore to defend whatever building the people would have attacked.

  • 10 The Syrian Brit // Feb 5, 2006 at 5.24 pm

    “WE ARE the terrorists.. that WE ARE the blood-thirsty thugs.. that WE ARE everything our enemies describe us as.. and worse..”

    annie, what I said was that these acts PORTRAY us as that.. Let’s not kid ourselves.. anyone who saw those pictures (many Arabs and Muslims included) did not say: ‘Aah, the poor people are enraged by what happens in Iraq and Palestine.. That’s ok, let them vent off their anger!!..’.. In fact, most sensible people would say ‘what a bunch of idiots and hooligans…’..
    Yes, I am enraged!.. Far beyond my words can say.. These acts will only serve to destroy any semblence of a favourable image Muslims and Arabs might have left.. These mobs totally undermine all the good work that many of us have toiled and sweated blood and tears over years to achieve, in our attempts to raise the profile of our distiguished civilization, and show the true meaning of Arabism and Islam.. and then, you get hoodlams like those mobs in Damascusd yesterday, and Beirut today.. They did not only vandalize the Danish and Norwegian embassies, they destroyed the image of a Nation.. Yes, I am enraged.. and I am ashamed…

  • 11 annie // Feb 5, 2006 at 6.27 pm

    Stop ya Brit. You have hoodlums everwhere. One cannot generalize. These ‘casseurs’ do not represent the Syrian people and they will have destroyed the image of the nation only for those who are already ill disposed towards Syria or the Arabs.
    As for Sasa, this
    “… pull down the American flag” was the understatement of the year. The American embassy was in fact looted and the Government had to pay millions to have it repaired.

  • 12 The Syrian Brit // Feb 5, 2006 at 8.00 pm

    Yes, there are hoodlums everywhere..and, yes, these hoodlums do not represent the Syrian people, and I know they don’t.. But if you are trying to overturn deep-rooted prejudices in the West, you do not need this kind of behaviour that will only re-inforce existing misconceptions.
    Furthermore, this behaviour is counterproductive, even in the short term.. you said it yourself.. ‘The American embassy was in fact looted and the Government had to pay millions to have it repaired.’.. Correction:- WE, the Syrian People, had to pay millions to have it repaired.. and that is only to repair the PHYSICAL damage…

  • 13 Birgitte // Feb 5, 2006 at 8.49 pm

    As a Dane I am surprised that me and my sons muslim friends in Denmark are not aware, that they are being attacted by a local newspaper, and instead of burning something down, threating somones life or demanding impossibel reactions from a government i this society uses the spoken word and demonstrate because the are defended by drawings. Are these friends not muslims?
    I hope they are.

  • 14 sailboatie // Feb 5, 2006 at 11.00 pm

    hmmmm, sounds like a lot of misunderstanding on all sides. freedom of speech and press comes with responsibility, something that was forgotten by the danes norwegians and french. it was innapropriate, but it was also an innapropriate response to go and torch their embassies in damascus. as an american on exchange in france and who has lived all over the world i have heard a lot of american bashing. now i allow that yes the american government has its failings but that does not transfer to all american people, just as is the case in syria. there are very well meaning, open minded, and intelligent syrians and it’s a shame that some of the other groups in the country gave everyone a bad name, because that is what happened yesterday, when those embassies were torched exactly as was said by previous people the syrian people were hurt as a whole, some radicals shot the rest of the country in the foot and gave them all a bad name. it’s the exact same in the us though, i’m sorry to say he’s my president but he is, he’s given me a bad name though, i’m hated by people all over the globe because of what an idiot i didn’t vote for is working on his personal agenda in other people’s backyards. i think the world should work on a principle common in all religions, forgiveness.

  • 15 sailboatie // Feb 5, 2006 at 11.01 pm

    sorry i posted that twice

  • 16 Torstein // Feb 5, 2006 at 11.18 pm

    “…something that was forgotten by the danes norwegians and french”

    Just like sailboatie is saying above, the whole problem is that people give everybody the blame for things that happen. I have lived in Syria and I know that what happened to the embassies is not the will of the Syrian people in general. The a**holes in the Norwegian magazine depicting the cartoons DO NOT REPRESENT Norwegians. They do not represent me. They only represent themselves.
    So Norman, when you say that “the assult started from Danmark and Norway it is an assult against all Arabs”, does that mean that it is an assault from my country? Does it mean anyonw has the right to attack me on the basis of my nationality? Every day I fight my society which tries to lump every muslim into one homogenous category, and all this works comes to nothing when my countrymen see others doing the same thing to them.
    I fear we’re back to scratch thanks to all the idiots who want to provoke, insult, burn and destroy…

  • 17 ibn yafa // Feb 6, 2006 at 1.04 am

    For heaven’s sake…at least get your dates right. The attack on the American emabssy wasn’t in 1991. It was seven years after that.

    Sorry to know bringing down the american flag brings back ‘painful memories’ to you. I greatly sympathise.

  • 18 Anonymous // Feb 6, 2006 at 5.37 am

    It’s exactly the same in the US??? You’re crazy. When was the last time you saw thousands of demonstrators chanting death to another country??…over cartoons…I don’t give a rip whether it’s insulting to your “religion” or not…it just shows how far back in the stone age some of these people live…and their disrespect is well deserved.

  • 19 Anonymous // Feb 6, 2006 at 5.40 am

    why don’t you just go live in iran or syria if you hate your country so much??…you’re just like every other apologetic liberal…blaming the US for everyone else’s problems. Go live there for a year, a month, or a week and then come back and whine to us about what a terrible country we live in. You suck.

  • 20 norman // Feb 6, 2006 at 6.16 am

    I want to make my self clear ,I admire the US and it,s intention ,I disagree with the methods we use to implement them in forign policy, burning the american flag is constitutionaly protected in the US but doubting the Holocost is a crime ,the only thing muslems want is to make the prophet Muhamad as sacred as the holocost ,Is that somyhing hard for the EU people to undestand as apparently the US came to recognize and condem the insult to the prophet and Islam and for that i am proud to be an american syrian.

  • 21 Anonymous // Feb 6, 2006 at 9.47 pm

    to the other “anonymous”
    As an American I can tell you that we do not have thousands of people burning things in our streets everyday. That is not because we do not have the rage or potential, it is simply that our government chooses to set those fires in other people’s countries. In my mind that is no better.
    As for yelling death to another country, our government yells it constantly, to the Iraqi’s, to the Palestinians, to the Iranians, to the Syrians, and the list goes on and on. No matter whether it is done through the mouths of the people or the State Department, threats are threats.
    For someone who is all for “freedom of speech” and “freedom of symbolism” (as in “..over cartoons?”), you are very touchy over people burning the flag. Isn’t that a little hypocritical????
    Lastly, don’t use the old “love it or leave it” line. If it wasn’t for dissent, we would all be British. Never forget that.

  • 22 sailboatie // Feb 6, 2006 at 10.31 pm

    well i would like to respond to one person’s very nice message to me, haha. one thing first of all is that it doesnt matter whether i’m a liberal or not. i am however proud to be an american and love my country. however, it is the truth that our government has caused a lot of problems by getting involved in affairs around the world by using “democracy” as sufficient reason. good one, problem is though democracy is not a feasible idea in countries that have to stability or no economy. democracy is, to take someone elses words, value-neutral. it can be great but on the other hand it has elected leaders like hitler and mussolini and countless tyrants in africa. our government has just pushed for democracy in palestine, well we got it and we don’t like it. i don’t see why we are pushing for democracy in some places and not others. and ps, i’m not whining about my country, i like it.

  • 23 Anonymous // Feb 7, 2006 at 5.03 am

    American “liberals” are apologetic enablers by nature. Everything is always the United States fault…nevermind the advances to civilization that our country has made over its short existence. It’s our fault that other country’s can’t act civilized and create an economy of their own…we created the muslim extremist terrorists…oops, we can’t call them that…they’re freedom fighters. You hate your “idiot” president?…then go talk to your wonderful democratic party and tell them to come up with something better?…all they can do is whine but never propose better ideas other then to bend over and take it up the a@@ because we are sooooo bad.

  • 24 Anonymous // Feb 7, 2006 at 2.50 pm

    And here’s the people we are dealing with…

    Iran launches ”Holocaust competition” in response to Danish cartoon scandal

    Posted: 07-02-2006 , 10:04 GMT

    A Holocaust cartoon competition has been launched in one of Iran’s leading newspapers in response to criticism over Muslim protests of cartoons picturing the Prophet Muhammad.

    The Hamshahri daily Holocaust competition will be a test to see whether or not freedom of expression is a right of the Muslim world as well the west. “Western newspapers published these caricatures, which constitute desecration, under the pretense of freedom of expression,” said the newspaper’s graphic editor, Farid Mortazawi.

    “Let’s see if they mean what they say once we publish Holocaust caricatures,” he added.

    Earlier in the week, the chief Rabbi of France, Joseph Sitruk, condemned the Danish publication of the disparaging images of the Muslim prophet, saying that publications meant to offend people’s religion should be prohibited.

    “I understand the anger of Muslims. And I understand the anger among religious Muslims at publications like these,” Sitruk said.

    “Publishing material that hurt people’s religious feelings should be forbidden in Denmark as they are in Syria,” he added. However, it should be mentioned that Israeli newspapers have published the Danish cartoons.

    Meanwhile, Tehran’s Danish embassy was attacked by hundreds of Iranians with firebombs and stones in protest of the Danish cartoons. Security forces were required to use tear gas to subdue the angry demonstrators.

    The Austrian Embassy was also the target of a similar attack, according to the AP, when 200 students set fires to the compound and broke windows as a sign of disapproval of the EU, whose presidency is currently held by Austria.

    The EU, as a result, issued a reminder to 18 Arab and Muslim countries that they are under treaty obligations to protect foreign embassies.

    Across the world, thousands have voiced their anger over the cartoons, many in a violent fashion. Several people have already been killed as a result.

    In response to the growing violence, US President George W. Bush urged the Saudi administration to do what it could to ease tensions over the cartoon scandal.

    Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington responded with a public appeal for religious tolerance despite the distasteful cartoons.

    So too, leading Muslim Brotherhood religious cleric Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi condemned the violent reactions to the cartoons.

    “The acts of destruction carried out by a minority of people in capitals around the world are unacceptable as a response to what European newspaper published. We never called on people to burn cars. We call on you to show the fury in an intelligent way as to avoid unthinkable damage,” he said on Al Jazeera.

    He also called for “sanctions on countries that published the cartoons in their newspapers.”

    © 2006 Al Bawaba (

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