‘Freedom!’ Marchers demand more Syria reforms

By:  MSNBC News Service

BEIRUT — Eyewitnesses say Syrian security forces have used batons and fired tear gas at thousands of protesters who were marching toward the main square, of the capital, Damascus.

“I counted 15 mukhabarat (secret police) busloads. They went into the alleyways just north of the square chasing protesters and yelling ‘you pimps, you infiltrators, you want freedom? we will give it to you’,” one of the witnesses said.

Another witness who accompanied the protesters from the suburb of Harasta said thousands chanted “the people want the overthrow of the regime” and tore down numerous posters of President Bashar al-Assad plastered along the way.

The violence in the suburbs of Damascus was the only major unrest reported during protests in several Syrian cities on Friday, the main day for demonstrations across the Arab world.

The protesters in Douma held up yellow cards, which they said was a soccer-inspired warning to the regime.

“This is our first warning, next time we will come with the red cards,” said one protester who spoke to The Associated Press by telephone. He asked that his name not be used because of fears for his personal safety. Continue to MSNBC.MSN.com

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