Sunday, March 20, 2011
Thousands revolt in Syrian city of Deraa
Protesters are showing signs - among othres - on which the release of the 15 arrested children is demanded.
Demonstrators in the southern Syrian city of Deraa have set fire to several buildings during a third consecutive day of protests.Police tried to disperse protesters, and one demonstrator was reportedly killed.
On Friday four people died during violent clashes.The protests on Sunday came as a government delegation arrived in Deraa to offer condolences for those killed. Residents told Reuters news agency that protesters had set fire to symbols of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, including the Baath Party headquarters, a courthouse and two branches of a phone company owned by the president's cousin, Rami Makhlouf. Also a statue of Hafez al-Assad, Bashar's father, was reportedly destroyed.
Earlier, protesters in Deraa called for an end to Syria's 48-year-old emergency law, and for the dismissal of officials involved in Friday's crackdown, reports said. An important demand was also the release of 15 children who had been arrested after writing slogans on walls. The government said it would release the 15 children, but sofar that has not happened. Also it has announced a three-month reduction in the length of compulsory military service across the country, in an attempt to stem the dissatisfaction in the country.
Activists were quoted as saying that police had used tear gas and live ammunition to try to clear demonstrators, and that one protester had been shot dead and dozens of others injured. The protesters are said to be in control of the centre of the city and to have turned a mosque into a field hospital.
Syria's officials news agency blamed any violence on demonstrators. Roads into Deraa have been blocked and also the internet, electricity and most communications are blocked in the city.
Protests were also reported in other parts of the country, like in Homs and in Banias at the coast.. On Sunday there was a tiny demonstration in Salamiya, a suburb of Hama.after six people had been arrested.