March 24, 2011

Syria Clamps Down As 20,000 Rally In Protest; 100 Dead! President al-Assad Has RULED Syria For 40 YEARS!

The Australian
written by AFP
Friday March 25, 2011

ABOUT 20,000 people gathered last night in the Syrian city of Daraa for the burial of victims killed by police gunfire earlier in the day, with reports that the death toll could be as high as 100, not 10 to 15 as claimed by the government.

One activist in Daraa, contacted by telephone, said the mourners made their way from the Omari mosque, where protesters have been holed up for a week, to the burial grounds under pouring rain, chanting: "With our souls, with our blood, we are loyal to our martyrs."

Rights activists have said at least 100 people had been killed by gunfire in Daraa, a tribal area at Syria's border with Jordan that has been the focal point of protests demanding the end of the country's ruling regime.

"There are definitely more than 100 dead and the city will need a week to bury its martyrs," said human rights activist Ayman al-Asswad in Daraa.

Syria is the latest state in the Middle East to witness an uprising against a long-running autocratic regime. Protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, whose Baath party has ruled Syria for 40 years, have surfaced but been contained in the capital Damascus, with Daraa emerging as the hub of the movement. Authorities in Daraa accuse the protesters of being Salafists, belonging to an austere branch of Sunni Islam.

State television aired footage of what it said was a stockpile of weapons in the mosque.

Reporters Without Borders has said it was concerned journalist Mazen Darwish, founder of the Syrian center for media freedom, had been arrested.

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