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Violent Clashes In Syria On “Friday Of Steadfastness”; Protests In Egypt And Yemen [VIDEO]

Violent Clashes In Syria On “Friday Of Steadfastness”; Protests In Egypt And Yemen [VIDEO]

Friday marked the start of the fourth week of demonstrations in Syria as protesters continued to defy President Basher al-Assad’s security crackdown, demanded the repeal of the 48-year-old emergency law and called for Assad to step down.

Gunfire broke out following Friday prayers in the southern city of Dara’a, but there are conflicting reports about who was firing on whom, as well as the number of dead. Estimates range from 17 to more than 23 deaths following the violence. Witnesses told CNN that security forces fired on unarmed protesters. The Syrian government, however, claimed it was the protesters who fired on the security forces.

From the New York Times:

Wissam Tarif, director of a Syrian human rights group, said a doctor and medical student in Dara’a told him that 18 protesters had been killed in the clashes. Nine were shot in the head, he said. A Facebook group monitored by human rights activists in Syria said 24 had been killed in Dara’a and another 20 wounded.

Syrian state media said it was 19 security officers who had been killed and blamed gunmen who “opened fire on a group of citizens, security forces and police as worshippers left Friday prayer.” But video footage reportedly from Dara’a showed several dead and wounded men, none in uniforms.

The clash began as security forces on the bridge tried to keep two groups of protesters from joining together, the resident said. Chants of “Peaceful, peaceful!” rose through clouds of tear gas and the sounds of gunfire.

Tarif also said security forces were arresting protesters. CNN reports witness said security forces kept doctors from getting to the city’s main hospital to tend to the wounded.

The Syrian protests started in March and have centered on Dara’a, but are now spreading to other regions of the country. The BBC said:

The protests have posed an unprecedented challenge to President Bashar al-Assad’s 11-year rule. He has offered to consider reforms, but activists say his proposals do not go far enough.

Reports say the unrest Friday moved to areas closer to the center of the capital, Damascus, where security forces have maintained a strong presence.

A witness told the Guardian by phone:

4,000 people had gathered in Harasta, which has not seen demonstrations on previous Fridays. They carried olive branches and chanted “freedom.” “It was peaceful until security forces attacked and some shots were fired,” said the man, who asked for anonymity. “I saw six people shot, three of them with two bullets each.”

Amnesty International estimates at least 171 people have been killed to date.

“The alarming reports coming from Syria today show that the authorities have not altered their violent methods for dealing with dissent,” said Philip Luther, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International told CNN.

“The Syrian government needs to take urgent action to rein in its security forces and prevent the loss of further lives,” he said.

Ever since Egyptian protesters took to Cairo’s Tahrir Square on January 25 in an uprising that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, revolution has swept the Middle East and North Africa, Friday has become a pivotal day for protests as worshippers emerge from mosques following weekly noon prayers that mark the Muslim holy day.

In Egypt, too, revolution returned Friday as tens of thousands of protesters converged on Tahrir Square to voice their frustration over the slow pace of reforms. The protesters also called for the Egyptian military council to bring Mubarak to trial.

And in Yemen, rival demonstrations over the fate of President Ali Abdullah Saleh brought more than 100,000 people to the capital, Sanaa on Friday.

As the New York Times reported:

In the capital, chants in favor of Mr. Saleh echoed through the streets along with those calling for his ouster. The cadence of each was the same, though the words reflected the deep political impasse that has gripped the country since protests began in mid-February.

“The people want Ali Abdullah Saleh,” yelled some.

“The people want to the regime to fall,” yelled others nearby.

Adding to the heightened tension in the capital, a fleet of additional tanks has been deployed in the city, protecting the presidential palace in the past week.

The government said in a statement on Friday that Mr. Saleh welcomed an offer from the Gulf Cooperation Council, a six-nation regional coalition, to discuss a plan to transfer political power.

These 2 videos show protesters Friday in Syria:

Previous Care2 Coverage

Middle East Update: Protests in Egypt, Syria, Yemen

300 Migrants Fleeing Libya Feared Drowned; Gaddafi Writes to Obama

Massacre In Misrata – Update On Libya

US Withdraws Support For Yemeni President; 12 Killed in Protest

 

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Photo: Map of Syria courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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16 comments

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1:59AM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

Sorry to see the state of affair lets all pray to GOD to help these poor people

11:05PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

On Mon., 4APR11 the truthout.org lead article by Noam Chomsky had complimentary ones by Patrick Martin (wsws.org) & Yoichi Shimatsu (newamericamedia.org) in its comments section.

Chomsky RIGHTLY condemns the US/EU for letting the oil-fat, PRO-SHARI’A Muslim royal families (esp. Bahrain, Kuwait & Saudi Arabia) SLAUGHTER their pro-democracy movements, but then in turn “responds” by attacking the “UNRELIABLE” Gadafy in Libya.

Chomsky accurately states: “An oil-rich dictator who is a reliable client is granted virtual free rein.”

Together, these analyses show us what WE MUST expect:

*The US/EU will use their CIA/Muslim Brotherhood/Al-Qaeda assets to overthrow current “Shari’a-lite” regimes in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya & Syria & ENFORCE the installation of “reliable” hardline, PRO-SHARI’A rulers, as we’re ALREADY seeing in Rached Ghannouchi’s Tunisia (Yemen, the POOREST Muslim state, has NO oil & will be “stabilized” internally).

*PRO-SHARI’A Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia & other UAE states will contribute their PETRO-BUX to pay for this “CHANGE”.

*ALL US/EU/Mideast oil cos. will reap the profits from this STABLE arrangement.

*ALL Mideast pro-democratic (a misnomer) movements have NO CHANCE!

PRO-SHARI’A = “CLITORECTOMY-ON-COMMAND”!

“This is what chump “CHANGE” looks like!” - ‘Wamsutta

2:55PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

One thing is for certain, Isreal is an apartide state and USA and other Western countries are supporting her to keep going.

Billions are given in aid for keeping her afloat because huge amounts are spent on keeping the war machine in action.

The natives are chucked out, their homes and land are snatched and pushed in smaller and smaller areas.
USA make a joke of their claims to being the peacemakers.

Only peace they make is pieces of other peoples lands and give it to their own poodles.

Why are Russians more able to come to Jerusalem and have all the facilities and Palastinians are chucked out?

Americans have a lot to answer for

12:21PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

When they finish with ME they would be comming for you ,don't you believe me? Sorry they are already here in USA ,alive and kicking. see www.blip.tv/file/1382254

12:17PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Susan C, " It is to be hoped that changes across the region cause Israel to transform into a new country where people are equal..." Do you know that Palestinians who left present day Israel which was created in 1948, Palestinians who live in Syria,Jordan Egypt and other muslim countries have NOT been given the citizens of those countries to this day, where as Israel have given them [Pals ] the Israeli citizenship. And you are talking of 'peoples equality'? How dare you.?
" Not the present apartheid 'white settler' state propped up by the US ,Britain,Canada etc, no justice,no peace,-that's just the way it is .." The day Palestinians and the Arab world let the Israelis live in peace ,then Israel need not have apartheid. Who do you thing you are? Are you and your forefathers NOT the 'white settlers' in USA? People like you are hypocrites. How many of your forefathers killed native Indians? Be honest? As usual you muslims will deny it. Now google "Resolution181 Of The United Nation " and I suggest you read it carefully and STOP posting comments without facts.
see www.compassdirect.org

11:42AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

How come USA and Israel always get dragged into every thing,is beyond me.? You can pray as much as you like ,thing in ME are NOT going to be peaceful in times to come www.thereligionofpeace.com

7:54AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

ISRALE

IS READY FOR ANY NEGATIVE ACTION AND IMPACT.

SHALOM.

2:16PM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

No, I am far from anti-Semitic (which also means anti-Arab, by the way, since Arabic is also a Semitic language). In fact, when younger I wanted to work on a kibbutz. Since actions speak louder than words, I changed my sympathies.

It shows the weakness of the Zionist argument to equate criticism of Israel with being a racist.

1:58PM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

Wouldn't be surprised no matter who it was firing on whom. Some of these "protests" smell like skunks in the wood pile.

1:56PM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

Susan C, just come out and admit it. You are anti-semitic.

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