In Saudi Arabia, where demonstrations are banned, reports emerged Wednesday of rare protests in support of the Palestinians.
Witnesses told The Associated Press that Saudi police rounded up about 300 demonstrators in the northern Jof province after a confrontation Tuesday with 3,000 Saudis who burned U.S. and Israeli flags in a pro-Palestinian march.
The protesters threw stones at police and security forces who had arrived to disperse them, the witnesses said on condition of anonymity. A smaller pro-Palestinian protest was held briefly in the Saudi capital of Riyadh late Tuesday, but it broke up before security forces arrived, witnesses there said.
On Wednesday, the official Saudi television read a terse statement from the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef denouncing an incident in Jof, without mentioning what it was.
Nayef said it was carried out by about 150 youths "driven by fervor over what is happening" in the Palestinian areas. "This behavior is unacceptable and will not be allowed to be repeated," he said, according to the statement.
However, demonstrators took to the streets Wednesday in the capitals of Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
In Beirut, Lebanese and Palestinians shredded an American flag and clashed with security forces outside the fortified U.S. Embassy compound. Some 25 people, including nine members of the security forces, were slightly hurt in a melee involving 5,000 people, mainly students, outside the suburban Beirut embassy.
In Egypt, more than 2,000 students protested at the Cairo University campus, some raising Palestinian flags. More than 1,000 students spilled out to the street but police prevented them from marching to the nearby Israeli Embassy. On campuses across Egypt, some 30,000 university students demonstrated, but no clashes were reported. (Albawaba.com)