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SYRIA: Security forces reportedly unleash tear gas on mourners after week of unrest

March 19, 2011 | 12:49 pm

Syrian security forces reportedly used tear gas to disperse thousands of angry mourners gathered for the funeral for two anti-government protesters killed in the southern city of Daraa on Friday, the BBC and Reuters reported Saturday.

The video above claims to show huge crowds gathered in Daraa Friday. The Associated Press cited activists saying that at least five people died when security forces open fired on the demonstration.

Picture 2 Anti-government demonstrations were held in several cities throughout Syria on Friday after several smaller protests were forcefully broken up earlier this week. State media and the government have blamed the unrest on foreign "infiltrators."

Amnesty International has released a statement calling on the Syrian authorities to reveal the whereabouts of at least 21 people who have been missing since they were arrested in protests earlier this week. Seven of them were arrested while participating in a peaceful sit-in outside the Ministry of Interior to demand the release of political prisoners, the statement said. According to numerous media reports, at least 30 people were arrested that day and charged with intentionally harming Syria's image.

"In Syria, it is not the Facebook generation that is taking to the streets. It is people who are tired of poverty and repression," journalist Lina Sinjab wrote for the BBC, adding that authorities' violent response has only radicalized protesters.

"Now, the slogans appear to be harsher," she noted. "The mourners called for 'revolution' -- the boldest challenge to Syria's rulers since uprisings began sweeping the Arab world."

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Video: A YouTube video claims to show thousands of protesters rallying against the government in the Syrian city of Daraa. A screen shot, bottom image, shows the apparent scene. Credit: YouTube

 

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