Pro-Syrian crowd tries to storm Tunisia meeting

Feb 24 2012 - 10:04am

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Pro Syrian demonstrators are protesting outside the Cartago Hotel where the Conference on Syria is held in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday Feb. 24, 2012.The birthplace of the Arab Spring hosts a landmark conference on Syria by high-level U.S., European, Turkish and Arab League officials. The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Pro Syrian demonstrators are protesting outside the Cartago Hotel where the Conference on Syria is held in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday Feb. 24, 2012.The birthplace of the Arab Spring hosts a landmark conference on Syria by high-level U.S., European, Turkish and Arab League officials. The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Pro Syrian demonstrators scuffle with police as they are protesting outside the Cartago Hotel where the Conference on Syria is held in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday Feb. 24, 2012.The birthplace of the Arab Spring hosts a landmark conference on Syria by high-level U.S., European, Turkish and Arab League officials. The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Pro Syrian demonstrators are protesting outside the Cartago Hotel where the Conference on Syria is held in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday Feb. 24, 2012.The birthplace of the Arab Spring hosts a landmark conference on Syria by high-level U.S., European, Turkish and Arab League officials. The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Tunisian foreign minister Rafik Abdessalem, center opens the Conference on Syria in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday Feb. 24, 2012.The birthplace of the Arab Spring hosts a landmark conference on Syria by high-level U.S., European, Turkish and Arab League officials. Sitting at left is Qatar foreign minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al-Thani, and at right General Secretary of the Arab League Nabil-al-Arabi.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Pro Syrian demonstrators are protesting outside the Cartago Hotel where the Conference on Syria is held in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday Feb. 24, 2012.The birthplace of the Arab Spring hosts a landmark conference on Syria by high-level U.S., European, Turkish and Arab League officials. The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Pro Syrian demonstrators are protesting outside the Cartago Hotel where the Conference on Syria is held in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday Feb. 24, 2012.The birthplace of the Arab Spring hosts a landmark conference on Syria by high-level U.S., European, Turkish and Arab League officials. The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Pro Syrian demonstrators scuffle with police as they are protesting outside the Cartago Hotel where the Conference on Syria is held in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday Feb. 24, 2012.The birthplace of the Arab Spring hosts a landmark conference on Syria by high-level U.S., European, Turkish and Arab League officials. The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Pro Syrian demonstrators are protesting outside the Cartago Hotel where the Conference on Syria is held in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday Feb. 24, 2012.The birthplace of the Arab Spring hosts a landmark conference on Syria by high-level U.S., European, Turkish and Arab League officials. The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
Tunisian foreign minister Rafik Abdessalem, center opens the Conference on Syria in Tunis, Tunisia, Friday Feb. 24, 2012.The birthplace of the Arab Spring hosts a landmark conference on Syria by high-level U.S., European, Turkish and Arab League officials. Sitting at left is Qatar foreign minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al-Thani, and at right General Secretary of the Arab League Nabil-al-Arabi.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

TUNIS, Tunisia -- About 200 pro-Syrian demonstrators tried to storm the hotel where a conference is being held by Arab and Western officials over the crisis in Syria.

The protest forced U.S. Secretary of States Hillary Rodham Clinton to be diverted to her hotel, delaying her appearance at the "Friends of Syria" conference.

The protesters, waving Syrian and Tunisian flags, tussled with police and carried signs criticizing Clinton and President Barack Obama.

Police wielding truncheons stopped them from entering the venue and drove them out of the parking lot after about 15 minutes.

The U.S. and European and Arab allies are expected to back a proposal for Syria's president to step aside and allow in humanitarian assistance to end a brutal crackdown against opponents.

 

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