Following the kick-off of the inaugural summit of the Friends of Syria, an international meeting of 67 countries in Tunisia to address the escalation of violence in Syria, incensed demonstrators gathered to denounce the conference and its attendees.
Approximately 300 protesters, exploiting a lull in security at the entrance to the La Palace hotel, flooded the venue, nearly reaching the front door before being halted by police. The crowd bellowed the national anthem, and chanted condemnations of the interim government, the United States, France, Turkey, Qatar, and others for their perceived interference in Syrian affairs.
Demonstrators brandished Syrian, Palestinian, and Tunisian flags; pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the iconic former-Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser; and signs bearing expressions consisting of "Enemies of Syria = Friends of Israel," "All of us are with you [written over a picture of al-Assad]," and "Hillary Clinton degage!!"
While brief clashes broke out between security officials and the protesters, the police were largely successful in ushering the crowd away from the premises without resorting to violence. Members of the crowd stated that they came to denounce the Friends of Syria conference, stating their conviction that the event was merely a western plot to disrupt Arab unity and subjugate the Syrian people.
"We are against this conference! These individuals are not friends of the Syrian people," shouted one protester, angrily jabbing his finger in the direction of the hotel. When asked what association they represented and who planned the protest, a number of different members of the gathering stated only that they were Tunisians and were organized by Tunisia itself.