Syrian regime supporters rally in Istanbul
Istanbul police disperse protesters, supporting Syrian regime, in Istanbul on April 1. DAILY NEWS PHOTO by Emrah GULERTurkish police dispersed a group of pro-regime Syrians holding a protest yesterday near where the Group of Friends of the Syrian People meeting was being held in Istanbul.
Police officers used tear gas to end the protest, which was staged in Istanbul’s Harbiye neighborhood, daily Hürriyet reported. Nearly 300 demonstrators carried posters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and flags of Russia and China, while shouting pro-al-Assad slogans in Arabic, private broadcaster NTV reported on its website. “Allah, Syria, Bashar, that’s it” and “Down, down USA,” chanted protesters. Security forces intervened when the group tried to march down to the Hilton Hotel where the meeting was taking place.
Meanwhile, a group of 100 protesters members of Turkey’s Workers Party (İP) joined the protests. Osman Bilge Kuruca, the İP’s Istanbul district head, said in a press statement that the meeting had been conducted by “Syria’s enemies.”
Another group of 200 people gathered near the meeting avenue to protest the al-Assad regime, demonstrating against the violence in Syria. nother group protesting NATO and a missile radar shield in eastern Turkey gathered near the meeting avenue. Istanbul police had increased their security measures.
On the other hand, Nusayri representatives from the Syrian opposition participated in the conference, along with Christian and Druze opposition members.
The conference is participated by representatives from 83 countries and foreign ministers from 41 countries. Nearly 600 journalists from all over the world covered the summit.