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Syrians Stage Rally to Protest UN Resolution

Hundreds of Syrians staged a rally on Tuesday near the US embassy in downtown Damascus to protest against a newly adopted UN resolution which urges full Syrian cooperation in the probe of the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

The demonstrators brandished national flags, large portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and banners reading "Yes for evidence, no to unjust accusations".

One of the protesters, Nizar Meyhoubu, chairman of Syria's Public Relations Association, told Xinhua that "the demonstration will continue as long as pressure against Syria continues." "The demonstration will convey signals to the world, especially the US administration, that the Syrian people want to get the truth (on Hariri's death)," Meyhoubu said.

"We reject the policy of pressure and threat against Syria, and we have fully cooperated with the international committee," he added.

Security was beefed up with many anti-riot police deployed outside the embassy.

The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted are solution demanding full Syrian cooperation with the UN probe into Hariri's killing, threatening "further action" if Syria does not comply.

Chief UN investigator Detlev Mehlis released an interim report on Oct. 20, saying there was "converging evidence" of Syrian and Lebanese involvement in the killing of Hariri in a powerful car bomb blast in Beirut on Feb. 14.

Syria denied any involvement and dismissed the report as politically motivated and far from truth.

The United States, France and Britain sponsored a draft resolution last Tuesday, but dropped the specific reference to the threat of economic sanctions in a last-minute concession to secure an unanimous vote for the resolution in the Security Council meeting on Monday.

Syria withdrew its troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon in late April after Hariri's death sparked widespread anti-Syrian protests in Lebanon and growing international pressure.

(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2005)

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