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  • » 04/22/2011, 00.00

    SYRIA

    Great Friday of protest in Syria as opposition and regime engage in tug-of-war



    The opposition to Bashar al-Assad’s regime takes to the streets in various cities to demand radical reform, the release of political prisoners and more democracy. Churches cancel Good Friday processions in public places because of demonstrations.
    Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) – After noon prayers, Syria’s opposition  was back in the streets to demand democratic reforms in the first demonstrations since Bashar al-Assad’s new cabinet took office and the state of emergency imposed in 1963 was lifted. Despite changes, repression continues however with the arrest of an historic leader of the pro-democracy opposition. Churches across the country have also decided to cancel Good Friday ceremonies in public places because of heightened tensions in the country.

    At dawn today, hundreds of police agents and members of the security forces, the infamous ‘Mukhabarat’, took over strategic sites ahead of the planned opposition’s protest. Checkpoints were set up in the main cities to allow police to check identities.

    Tensions are particularly high in Homs, scene of bloody clashes in recent days. Human rights organisations have reported that 228 people have been killed since protests began a month ago.

    Unrest began first in Deraa, southern Syria, before spreading to the capital, Aleppo, Baniyas and Homs, drawing in more and more people.

    The regime has reacted to the challenge with a two-pronged approach: gestures of overture on the one hand, and an iron fist on the other.

    The opposition’s response has been to raise the ante, going so far as to call for the president to resign.

    Bashar al-Assad, who took over after his father Hafez al-Assad died 11 years ago, blamed the unrest on radical Salafi groups.

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    See also

    30/09/2008 LEBANON – SYRIA
    Hariri not ruling out Syrian hand in Tripoli attack
    Some members of Lebanon’s parliamentary majority wonder whether “Syrian leaders are not using the Damascus attack as a pretext to justify a new, albeit limited military adventure in Lebanon.”

    03/08/2011 SYRIA
    Syria’s uprising: violence will not stop a people seeking freedom and dignity
    The “Syrian spring” did not want regime change. However, months of violence by Assad and his government, army and secret services have discredited the regime. It is time for everyone, including the Churches, to act and speak out despite fears of Islamisation.

    24/03/2011 SYRIA
    Protests continue in Deraa as the number of dead and wounded mounts
    Security forces carry out two attacks, demonstrators say. The authorities blame “armed gangs” and a “one million SMS” sent especially from Israel, pointing the finger at the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, Assad sacks a governor and releases women arrested for demanding the liberation of political prisoners.

    06/11/2013 SYRIA
    Syrian peace conference postponed, before it was even announced
    Assad seems unwilling to talk about a transitional government, the opposition can not agree on a leader and the United States has not responded to the Russian proposal to include Iran in the negotiations.

    04/02/2016 10:04:00 UN - SYRIA
    Geneva UN negotiations for peace in Syria suspended. Both sides play blame game

    Special envoy Staffan de Mistura claims it is just a temporary break and is not a sign of the failure of the talks. But experts say: "Negotiations never really begun." Opposition accuse the government of bombing and starving people. Damascus says rebels backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.





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