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Saturday, December 19, 1998 Published at 16:06 GMT

Anti-US, UK anger rises

A protester in Hebron lets fly with a stone from a sling

Protests are growing against the US-led air strikes on Iraq as the holy month of Ramadan begins.

President Clinton: "No decision to use force is easy"
But in a videotaped address to the Arab world released on Saturday, President Clinton said he had "deep respect" for the religious fast.

In the West Bank, hospitals said at least 100 Palestinians were wounded when thousands demonstrated near a Jewish settlement in Hebron for an end to the attacks.

[ image: A march is held in Hebron]
A march is held in Hebron
The protesters hurled stones and petrol bombs at soldiers who responded with plastic-coated bullets and tear gas. A witness said: "The skies are raining stones."

In Jordan, more than 1,000 students demonstrated inside the campus of the largest state university in Amman on Saturday.

During a procession, they chanted: "Arab rulers where are you! Death to America and Britain and Glory to Iraq."

"Clinton, thank you for feeling with us in Ramadan. You will pay hard", said one placard.

[ image: Placards read
Placards read "Death to America"
But as the protesters approached the main gate, scores of anti-riot police equipped with tear gas and carrying plastic batons prevented them from marching outside the campus.

The students then climbed on the roof of the main gate and tore up cards painted in the colours of the United States, British and Israeli flags.

Demonstrators scale the US embassy in Damascus to tear down and burn the US flag
Also on Saturday, a demonstration took place against the US embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus.

After scaling the embassy wall, protesters ripped down and burned a US flag. They also smashed notice boards on the gates of the embassy before heading to the nearby residence of the US ambassador.

US guards inside the compound fired tear gas at the protesters, who were mainly university students.

[ image: Two men go for the flag in Damascus]
Two men go for the flag in Damascus
Several people were affected by the tear gas and taken to hospital, witnesses said.

The Syrian Government has strongly condemned the joint American and British air strikes, although Saturday's demonstration was not organised by the government.

Protesters also stormed the British Cultural Council offices, smashing doors and windows before dispersing.

Elsewhere, there have been protests in Bulgaria, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Britain itself.

A BBC correspondent says there is concern that feelings could run higher if the attacks on Iraq continues into the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

[ image: President Clinton:
President Clinton: "Respect for Ramadan"
In his address, President Clinton said: "In the days ahead, I hope all Muslims will consider America's sincere desire to work with all people in the Middle East to build peace.

"We have the most profound admiration for Islam. Our dispute is with a leader who threatens Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

"As the crescent moon rises and the ninth month begins, Muslim-Americans - and all Americans - wish you the blessings of faith and friendship.

"May our prayers for a better world soon be answered. Ramadan Kareem."

Radio criticism

An unscheduled message broadcast on Iraqi state radio attacked other Arab nations for their reactions to the bombings.

[ image: Muslim anger worldwide is growing]
Muslim anger worldwide is growing
The anonymous commentator asked: "Why are some people silent over the aggression when it is so clear that it is not only aimed at Iraq, its people and brave national leadership, but is spreading in all directions - due to the factors of official Arab weakness - to include those Arab officials who are within the zone of US influence?

"What must be understood in the light of this continuous treacherous aggression against Iraq and its people, and therefore the Arab nation, is that this criminal aggression will not spare any of the Arabs."

Click here for the full text of the broadcast.

Click here for details of the protests in the UK.

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Full text of President Clinton's address to Arab nations

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