A ranking government official also challenged
The demonstration - a mile away from the U.S. Embassy which had shut down for the day - passed without violence and the flag-waving crowd dispersed peacefully after two hours of chanting anti-American slogans.
Hundreds of Syrian riot police in helmets, with batons and protective shields, ringed the embassy protectively. The demonstrators made no attempt to head for the
The crowd at the central Youssef al-Azmi Square seemed to direct its anger mostly at U.S. President George W. Bush.
Ahmad Deeb, a 30-year-old civil servant said he came to condemn the
"Leave us alone," said Deeb. "The world will be better next week because whoever is going to be elected as president will be better than Bush."
University student Hussam Baayoun, 20, said the demonstrators "want the Americans to stop their acts of terrorism in
Protesters totted pictures of President Bashar Assad and held banners reading "
The Syrian government has demanded Washington apologize for the strike of the Abu Kamal border community and threatened to cut off cooperation on Iraqi border security if there are more American raids on Syria territory.
The U.S. Embassy was closed amid security concerns related to the protest, and the American school was also shut for the day. Following the raid,
Although authorities usually keep Syria under tight control and Americans have generally felt welcome in the country, violence against U.S. and European interests at protests has erupted in the past.
In Baghdad, the foreign ministry said Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari called his Syrian counterpart late Wednesday to express Iraqs rejection of the attack and stress his governments keenness to avoid any political escalation that would damage relations between the two countries.
Information Minister Mohsen Bilal said the "aggression ... was supposed to yield a catch so that they could show it to the world ... But the catch turned out to be an innocent family."
But American accusations that