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Saudi authorities disperse anti-Assad protest in Mecca

Published on Oct 28, 2012 9:26 AM
A Syrian Muslim pilgrim shouts slogans against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after casting seven stones at a pillar that symbolises Satan during the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca Oct 27, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MECCA (REUTERS) - Saudi authorities have quickly dispersed a protest by hundreds of Syrian pilgrims calling for the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and denouncing what they said was international failure to stop bloodshed in Syria.

Protesters held up rebel flags and marched toward the Jamarat Bridge in Mina, east of the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, where more than 3 million Muslim pilgrims congregated for the annual haj.

"Syria lives forever despite of you Assad," the protesters shouted as the streamed by a giant wall at Jamarat Bridge used for the ritual stoning of the devil, one of the main rites of the haj.

No one was hurt when two police vehicles drove slowly in the direction of the protesters with the sirens on as the officers asked the crowd through loudspeakers to leave the area. The protesters swiftly dispersed and merged with thousands of other pilgrims in the area, a witness told Reuters news agency.

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