Syria

Thousands continue to protest across Syria

Reuters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to address a new government on Saturday aimed at launching reforms as protests calling for greater freedoms continue a month after they first started. Assad is under increasing pressure to lift a draconian emergency law and enact reforms in one of the Middle East's most autocratic nations. 

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Meanwhile, thousands of Syrians attended the funeral in the northwestern city of Banias of a man who died of his wounds after being shot by regime agents last Sunday.

The mourners chanted slogans in favor of greater freedoms, against the ruling Baath party, in power since 1963, while some called for an end to the regime.

The official SANA news agency said a policeman was killed when violence flared during an anti-regime demonstration in the industrial city of Homs on Friday. Baton-wielding police are reported to have waded into a crowd of around 4,000 people

Exactly a month after the first rare protest was staged in Damascus calling for the release of political prisoners, tens of thousands of people were again on the streets across Syria  on Saturday demanding greater freedoms.

As many as 3,000 protesters marched in the centre of the key protest town of Daraa, in southern Syria, where security forces shot dead at least seven people a week earlier.

Around 1,000 people held similar protests in the northwestern coastal city of Latakia while in Jobar, north of Damascus, police with batons and tear gas clashed with some 2,000 demonstrators and about 50 protesters threw stones at police in Barz, near Damascus.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday on Friday that it's time for the Syrian government to stop repressing their citizens and start responding to their aspirations.

A statement by the United Nations in Geneva denounced the regime's bloody response to the protests.
 

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