Search Articel

Monday, April 18, 2011

Syria protests: 'Thousands occupy Homs after funerals'

Thousands of anti-government protesters have occupied the centre of Syria's third largest city, Homs, insisting they won't leave until they bring down the country's leadership.

A woman told the BBC by phone crowds were still large late on Monday.

Earlier, funerals were held for some of those killed in Sunday's violence in the city, with crowds calling for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria's interior ministry has said the unrest amounts to armed insurrection.

Eight people died in Homs on Sunday after soldiers fired on crowds protesting at the death of a tribal leader in state custody.

The opposition says the occupation of the city centre will continue until their political demands are met. These include the immediate lifting of Syria's longstanding emergency laws and the release of political prisoners.

Activists say that checkpoints have been set up around the square to ensure that people coming in are unarmed civilians.

One opposition supporter, who said his brother was shot dead in Sunday's protests, said volunteers were providing the demonstrators with food and water.

Another, Najati Tayyara, told AFP news agency: "More than 20,000 people are taking part in the sit-in at Al-Saa Square and we have renamed it Tahrir Square like the one in Cairo.

"It is an open-ended sit-in which will continue until all our demands are satisfied."

The unprecedented wave of protests in Syria shows no sign of abating, despite promises of reform by President Assad, says the BBC's Kim Ghattas.

The persistence of the protests and the number of people out on the street make Syria's demonstrations even more striking then the other Arab uprisings, our correspondent adds.

Syria's official news agency has also been reporting on events in Homs. It says three army officers including a brigadier-general, together with his two sons and a nephew, were ambushed and killed on Sunday by "armed criminal gangs" which then mutilated the bodies with sharp tools.

The northern town of Banias also saw anti-government protests on Sunday.

In a statement, the interior ministry said: "The course of the previous events... have revealed that they are an armed insurrection by armed groups belonging to Salafist organisations, especially in Homs and Banias."

The BBC's Lina Sinjab says using the Salafist allegation is seen as a threat to peaceful protests.

Many fear it means further violence by authorities against protesters under the pretext of fighting terrorist elements, our correspondent says.

President Assad has pledged reforms to try to calm weeks of protest, but protesters say the concessions are not enough.

Human rights groups say at least 200 protesters have been killed in the past four weeks as security forces try to quell the most serious challenge to Mr Assad's rule since he succeeded his father 11 years ago.

Related Articles

0 komentar:

Post a Comment

Thanks and have a nice day

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...