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Day of mass protests urged as monitors visit Syria

Last Updated: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 15:29

Damascus: Internet activists are urging
regime opponents emboldened by the presence of observers to
take to Syria`s streets on Friday, a traditional day of mass
protests, despite unrelenting bloodshed.

The appeal comes after human rights groups reported that
at least 27 civilians were killed while tens of thousands of
people demonstrated yesterday, as Arab League observers
expanded their mission across the country.

"On Friday we will march to the squares of freedom,
bare-chested," the activists said on their Facebook page.
"We will march as we did in Homs and Hama where we
carried olive branches only to be confronted by Bashar`s gangs
who struck us with artillery and machine gun fire," said the
Syria Revolution 2011 activists.

The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami
Abdel Rahman, said that despite the bloody crackdown,
dissidents have been taking the opportunity to make their
voices heard to the monitors.

"The Arab League`s initiative is the only ray of light
that we now see," said Abdel Rahman.

"The presence of the observers in Homs broke the barrier
of fear."

Yesterday, about 30,000 people gathered in a square
outside the Grand Mosque in Douma just north of Damascus,
prompting forces to pull back from previously held positions,
said the Observatory.

Earlier, as Arab League observers arrived at the city
hall, security forces opened fire on protesters outside the
mosque, killing at least four and wounding several others, the
Britain-based group said.

The observers also visited the central city of Hama,
Idlib in the northwest, and Daraa in the south, according to
Syrian television.

SANA, the official news agency, said observers visited
the Baba Amro neighbourhood of Homs, Harasta city, Daraa and
Hama provinces "and met a number of citizens."

Daraa is the cradle of the unprecedented nine-month
protest movement against President Bashar al-Assad`s regime,
which has ruled Syria with an iron fist for 11 years.


First Published: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 15:29

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