Observers might still have doubts, but the protesters have long shed theirs: the people want to topple the regime.
Friday May 6, 2011
30 protesters were killed, including 16 in Homs, 6 in Hama, 4 in Deir Ezzor, 1 in Lattakia, 2 in Jableh and 1 from an unspecified location. Riad Seif, former head of the Damascus Declaration Council was arrested during prayer at Al-Hassan Mosque in Damascus. Another prominent detainee is Mouadh Al-Khateeb, a young and well-respected Damascene Imam. Tanks were deployed in Homs. Still, Syrian activists consider today’s large and widespread protests to be a sign of the futility of the violent crackdown orchestrated by the Assad regime. The demonstrations come following a week of violent crackdown that led to the arrest of over 3,000 people, and the death of 500 protesters most of whom from Deraa City. In many protests, people are now carrying banners in English in an attempt to communicate directly with the international community. On the darker side, the city of Baniyas was raided overnight. Details are still coming out now. Reuters reports the latest.
To all those who believe the protest movement in Syria to be a localized phenomenon, yes it’s indeed local to each and every community, city and town across Syria.
To all those who continue to expect an Egyptian or even a Yemeni scenario to unfold, let’s remember that we are dealing here with the most repressive police state in the region, each one of the thousands of protesters taking to the streets is seriously not expecting it to return home that day.
To all those who think this is contained and small-scale, you’re wrong. With over a 1,000 deaths and 8,000 arrests in less than 8 weeks, this is mass murder in slow-motion.
Damascus: 3,000 protesters demonstrated in the besieged Saqba suburb despite over 350 arrests made on the previous night. In Midan District in downtown Damascus, protesters streaming out of the Hassan Mosque were attacked by 2,000 security officers in civvies, but they kept shouting “the people want to topple the regime.” Once they were dispersed, the security officers staged a pro-Assad demonstration for the benefit of Syrian TV. Many Damascene suburbs took part in today’s protests; the so-called Poverty Belt around the city continues to be infected with the Freedom Bug.
Qamishly: 5,000 people took part in demonstration that raised slogans in support of the people of Deraa and national unity. Over 3,000 people took part in another demonstration in Amudeh (20 KM West of Qamishly) and 1,000 more in Derbassiyeh (50 KM west). Both are towns where Kurds make up most of the population.
Deir Ezzor: 5,000 protesters, men and women, took part in a demonstration followed by a sit-in at the Osman Mosque. The protest started small untilo security forces opened fire and killed four young activists, which infuriated the local residents, and encouraged more people to join. Seeing this, security forces shied from clashing with protesters who carried a sit-in at the Osman Mosque. After a long internal discussion, the protesters decided to abandon plans for establishing a permanent sit-in in the Mosque fearing a scenario similar to what took place in Deraa and Homs, settling on conducting daily protests until “the regime is toppled.”
Homs: over 10,000 people took part in today’s protests, despite the tanks and security barricades that were thrown all over the main squares and intersections. The protests ended when security forces began shooting at the crowds, leaving over 16 dead. A similar scenario played out in Hama. But in Homs, the story got complicated by reports of defections in the army and skirmishes between army officers and security forces, leading to a brief of exchange of artillery fire. The details are not clear yet. But a video below does show an apartments that was apparently damaged by a shell.
Banyas: the city was stormed overnight and most of its Sunni neighborhoods were besieged. There are sporadic reports of killings and lootings by security officers, but details are hard to come by at this stage.
Protesters carry banners appealing to the Syrian army to join them, as they chant: “the people want to topple the regime”. Many banners are in English. Protesters are attempting to communicate their message directly to the international community.
Homs / Bab Amr:despite siege by tanks, “the people want to topple the regime… leave, leave, one hand, one hand.” Activist asks: are all those people infiltrators? Where are the gangs? Where are the infiltrators?
Damascus / Saqba: Banner “Muslims and Christians, we don’t want sectarianism” Chants: “Shame on you for killing your people Bashar” “We have no more fear of you, Bashar. We have no more fear of you Maher” “God is greater than the oppressor”
Hama: the activist taking the video shows the protesters throwing stones at the security officers outside the local Immigration and naturalization Building, while the officers are busy raiding it. He says: now they’ll loot and burn it and tomorrow they will say, the protesters did it and that’s why we needed to use violence. This might sound incredible to some, but this is exactly the kind of staging that the Assads had excelled at since the 1970s onward.