Protests Spread in Syrian Cities
Anti-government protests continued in the Syrian city of Daraa, where demonstrators marched following a funeral for some of the 25 people shot dead by state security forces on Wednesday. Protests have also spread to numerous other cities and towns, including the capital city of Damascus. The BBC reports gunfire during the Daraa march.
Opposition leaders had called for nationwide protests following Friday prayers. A week of unrest is also planned.
Demonstrators in Daraa lit a fire under a bronze statue of the late President Hafez al-Assad, father of the current ruler Bashar al-Assad. The Assad dynasty has ruled Syria for 40 years.
There are unconfirmed reports today that a group of protesters traveling to Daraa were shot dead by security forces in the village of Salamen. A witness told al-Jazeera that at least 20 people were killed.
According to the BBC, protesters in the ancient capital city of Damascus marched down King Faisal Street chanting “Peaceful, peaceful, god, Syria, freedom!” Security forces dispersed the demonstrators, arresting many of them in the process. But not everyone in Syria wants to see the end of the Assad regime. Pro-government demonstrations have been reported in Damascus and al-Rifai, with clashes breaking out between the two factions in the capital.
In Hama, hundreds of people gathered in the streets, chanting “Freedom!”
Around 1,000 people rallied in Tall in solidarity with the Daraa protesters. They chanted anti-Assad slogans.
Yesterday, the Syrian government announced it would enact political reforms and even study lifting the state of emergency rule that has been in effect since 1963. The Assad government also said it would try those suspected of killing some of the Daraa protesters. Assad ordered everyone arrested during the recent uprising released as well.
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