(Reuters) – A crowd of Syrians stormed the Syrian embassy in Cairo smashing furniture and equipment and setting fire to parts of the building in protest over the latest bloodshed in the country, an embassy official and a witness said Saturday.
Rallies also broke out outside Syrian embassies in Britain, Germany and the United States after human rights activists reported more than 200 people were killed in shelling by government forces in the city of Homs.
In Cairo, embassy official Ammar Mohamed said he had been told by security officials about the overnight attack and arrived at the site to assess the damage. The scene was calm by early morning and Egyptian police were guarding the embassy.
It was the second such attack on the mission. The embassy was broken into last week in another demonstration against President Bashar al-Assad who has turned his army against demonstrators seeking an end to his rule.
Hundreds of demonstrators also gathered at a police station a few streets from the Cairo embassy to demand the release of as many as 11 Syrians and an Egyptian who they said were detained during the protest at the mission.
“God you are so strong, help us secure victory over Bashar,” chanted protesters outside the Cairo police station where they said the detainees from the demonstration were taken.
The gate of the embassy in central Cairo was broken and furniture and computers were smashed on the second floor of the building, a Reuters witness said, viewing the site after the attack. Parts of the first floor were burned, he said.
At the United Nations, the Security Council was due to meet later in the day to vote on a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing an Arab League plan calling for Assad to resign.
In London, more than 100 people hurled stones at the Syrian embassy, smashing windows and shouting slogans, and five people were arrested after trying to break in, according to TV reports.
A live internet stream from the Washington rally showed dozens of people shouting “Syria soon will be free.”
Syrians have also held regular protests outside the Cairo headquarters of the Arab League, which has suspended Syria’s membership, imposed sanctions and sent Arab monitors to Syria to assess whether the government was heeding an Arab peace plan.
The League called on Assad to step aside and hand powers to a deputy to start a dialogue with the opposition. Arab officials travelled to New York to seek U.N. Security Council backing for the resolution.