Dozens of people protested at the Russian embassy in Beirut on Tuesday, denouncing Syrian regime “massacres” while calling on Russia and China to change their positions on the crisis.
The protesters – both Syrians and Lebanese – held up posters denouncing the violence in neighboring Syria, where rights activists say more than 19,000 people have been killed in a 16-month uprising.
“We also wrote the names some of the martyrs on sheets of paper, turning them into paper planes and launching them at the Russian embassy building,” a 30-year-old Lebanese activist told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“I think more and more people are becoming sympathetic to the Syrian people’s demands,” she said.
But when protests were held in Lebanon early on in the uprising, “pro-Syrian regime thugs came to beat up protesters who took to the streets, scaring many people off from demonstrating again.”
The protesters also held up signs denouncing Russia and China for providing “cover” for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad since the revolt began in March 2011, organizers said.
Earlier this month, Russia together with China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria for the third time in nine months.
“We announce our total support for Syrian revolution’s demands of freedom, dignity, justice and the fall of the oppressive regime,” the activists said in a statement.
Syrian forces have frequently shelled Lebanese border areas in the past few weeks, security officials said.
In addition, several Syria-linked clashes have broken out in Lebanon in recent months, where the population is sharply divided over the Assad regime, stoking fears of a spill-over of violence into the small Mediterranean nation.