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SYRIA: Taking to the streets in a 'Great Friday' of people power [Video]

April 22, 2011 | 11:18 am

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Syria on Good Friday, chanting their boldest slogans to date as they marched through the streets where witnesses say they were shot at indiscriminately by security forces.

Demonstrations were reported in the suburbs of the Syrian capital of Damascus and many other cities and towns, including Madaya, Duma, Ezraa, Hrak, Latakia, Homs, Hama, Hasakah, Baniyas and Aleppo, where protesters stood defiantly despite the violent response by security forces and declared allegiance to their counterparts throughout the country.

Video claimed to have been filmed at Friday's bloody protests in Syria, in which nearly 70 people died, according to human rights activists, show demonstrators calling for the overthrow of the Syrian regime instead of calling for more reforms, which had been the case at previous demonstrations.

Demonstrators also stressed a sense of national unity in Friday's protests to offset government accusations that target and dismiss the popular demonstrations as divisive.

The video above, said to have been shot in the town of Amouda in the Syrian southwest on Friday, shows crowds of protesters draped in Syrian flags chanting “One, one, one, the Syrian people are one." Another batch of demonstrators were heard roaring "Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!" while other protest-goers were seen holding up banners reading "Peaceful, peaceful, peaceful" and "No to sectarianism."

In the suburbs of Damascus, where 34 protesters reportedly were killed, hundreds of people marched through narrow streets chanting "Zenga Zenga, Dar Dar, step down Bashar," playing on the speech of Libyan ruler Moammar Kadafi which was later turned into an infamous song on YouTube.

The march was able to get close to the Midan, close to the Damascus city center, despite a heavy security deployment and police crackdowns. Echoing gunshots overwhelmed crowds, piercing through their "peaceful, peaceful, peaceful" chants.

-- Roula Hajjar in Beirut

Videos: From above, protesters in Amouda take to the strees; inhabitants of Damascus suburbs take to the streets despite mass killings; arbitrary gunshot rings through Midan. Credit: YouTube