Security forces disperse protest with gunfire


Syrian security forces opened fire on a massive sit-in demonstration in the central city of the city of Homs overnight, dispersing the thousands of protesters, rights activists said Tuesday.


"The sit-in was dispersed with force. There was heavy gunfire," an activist told AFP the news agency by telephone in Damascus, without being able to give details of possible casualties.

Other exiled Syrian activists confirmed the reports but said they had not been able to get further details due to telephone communications being cut in Homs.

More than 20,000 demonstrators on Monday occupied the main square of Homs, some erecting tents, according to activists.

On Sunday security forces killed 11 people in the industrial city and a nearby town during a day of massive nationwide protest.

The interior ministry issued a warning late Monday that it would suppress an "armed revolt" that it claimed was undermining security in the country, blaming the unrest on hardline Islamic Salafist groups.

It accused such groups of killing soldiers, policemen and civilians, and of attacking public and private property, and warned that "their terrorist activities will not be tolerated".

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