Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Syrian regime left dozens dead after suppressing protests against Asad

Cairo / Damascus. .- Dozens of people died today in Syria on the day's bloodiest political protests in the country since the start of demonstrations against the regime of Bashar al-Asad. The human rights activist Haizam Maleh, one of the figures of the country's most respected opposition, Efe said by telephone that he had received reports that in different parts of the country had lost more than 50 people.

Amnesty International later the figure has risen to 75 dead. The Arab television networks Al Jazeera and Arabiya, for its part, citing figures compiled by activist groups, claimed that the dead rose to 68, a death toll that was not closed in the early hours of the night. "Demonstrations have spread to most cities and villages of Syria," said Efe telephone Maleh, a human rights activists in the country and who spent nine years of his life in Syrian prisons.

In Syria today was called Good Friday, a calificatio religious and political connotations, because it is called Good Friday in Christian communities of the Middle East because the opposition wanted the protest today was the largest. Since this morning the capital, Damascus and other cities were guarded by an impressive security device by the police and the army that was not seen in a long time in this country.

The entrances to Damascus were closed and transport to various areas of the capital was banned, as neighbors contacted by Efe and opposition sources. A similar situation prevailed in the central city of Homs and the southern Deraa, localities in which the highest number of victims by the protests of recent weeks.

The demonstrations began after noon prayers on Friday, the largest weekly religious holiday for Muslims. Images reproduced by Arab television channels, some of them broadcast over the Internet by activists of the opposition, showed crowds marched peacefully through different cities, despite the tight security.

According Maleh, the victims were killed by gunfire from security forces and "groups of thugs" who attacked the protesters, a form of repression that has been common during political protests in this country. Among the areas where riots have occurred are the locations of the outskirts of Havana in Douma, Harasta, Tel and Maadamía and in the towns of Dera, Izra, Hama, Homs and Hauran.

Syrian neighbors from different locations and medical sources consulted by Arab chains complained that the crackdown was extended to some health centers, which were surrounded by security forces so they could not get there the wounded. "The protests are increasing and the regime is incapable of finding a solution, so you should leave," said Maleh.

The protests erupted one day after President Bashar al-Assad signed a decree to end the state of emergency in force since 1963, and another to abolish the feared State Security Court. The repeal of the Emergency Law was one of the main demands of opposition groups that also claim political reforms in the system and the release of detainees.

According to historian and Middle East expert Robert Fisk, Al Asad through "a lot of problems" to be decided now for political reforms that had to be undertaken in 2000, when he took power after the death of his father, Hafez Assad. "Once you start making concessions, the people in the streets want more, and now claim the latest lawsuit, the end of the dictator," Fisk said in a statement to Al Jazeera.

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