Residents described a mobilization in the capital, Damascus, and, in more pronounced fashion, the restive city of Homs, where a government crackdown this week dispersed one of the largest gatherings since demonstrations began last month. For days, organizers have looked to Friday as a potential show of strength for a movement that has yet to build the critical mass that protests eventually achieved in Egypt and Tunisia.
“Together toward freedom,” read a Facebook page that has served as a pulpit of the uprising, over symbols of Christianity and Islam. “One heart, one hand, one goal.”
The calculus of both sides ahead of Friday’s protests is the same: to prove they have the upper hand in the biggest challenge yet to the 40-year rule of Mr. Assad’s family. While organizers were reluctant to call Friday a decisive moment, they acknowledged that it would signal their degree of support in a country that remains divided, with the government still claiming bastions of support among minorities, loyalists of the Baath Party and wealthier segments of the population.
“People are still hesitant,” said Wissam Tarif, the executive director of Insan, a human rights group. But he added, “If it’s not this Friday, it will be the coming Friday.”
The demonstrations may serve as a referendum of sorts on President Assad’s commitment to do away with the emergency laws in place since 1963 and institute a series of reforms like allowing civil liberties and abolishing draconian courts, which the president formally signed on Thursday. Some have called his promises a hard-won gain of an uprising that has shaken the Assad family, while others have been dismissive of initiatives that may prove elusive and that seemed aimed at blunting the demonstrations’ momentum.
“People don’t trust the regime anymore,” said Haitham Maleh, a former judge and an often imprisoned human rights activist in Damascus. “I don’t think that the Syrian people are going to stop before they bring down this regime.”
But Syria is a complicated country, with sizable minorities of Christians and heterodox Muslim sects that have looked with trepidation to the example offered by Iraq’s civil war. The prospect that Mr. Maleh raised — the government’s fall — has alarmed some, particularly among the minorities, who worry about society’s lack of independent institutions to navigate a transition and the fearsome prospect of score-settling in chaos.
“Everything is possible today,” said Michel Kilo, another government critic in Damascus. “If the regime believes that with security they can handle everything, then they will be turning Syria into a breeding ground for all kinds of extremist movements.”
The Syrian killers probably thought nobody would be able to get it on video at night. But they were wrong. An amateur videographer was filming the demonstration, and was just about to go down to the street and join in, when the gunshots broke out. A young girl behind him started to scream, he pushed her down.. And yet the Syrian people, like the Iranian people, are judged unworthy of support from our so-called leaders. Even Jimmy Carter would have been more.. American than this crowd. Have a look. And then tell your elected representatives to demand action.
- President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden
- U.S. Senators
- U.S. Representatives
- Tweet a Message to Your Representatives
Talking point to use with your elected representative.
April,19 2011 Latakia massacre
Latakia massacre Latakia Ugarit Tuesday the army is pulling bodies after his assault on the demonstrators with fire,
أوغاريت اللاذقية الثلاثاء الجيش يقوم يسحب الجثث بعد اعتداءه على المتظاهرين بالنار
21 April 2011
“It is imperative that these demonstrations are policed sensibly, sensitively and in accordance with international law to avoid further bloodshed on Syria’s streets,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Anti-government protests have persisted across Syria since 15 March © AP GraphicsBank
“These ‘Great Friday’ protests could be the largest yet. If government security forces resort to the same extremely violent tactics they have used over the past month, the consequences could be exceedingly grave.”
Peaceful protests calling for freedom are expected to take place in cities and towns across the country including Damascus, Dera’a, Homs and Banias, in all of which demonstrators have been killed by security forces in recent weeks.
The death toll has already exceeded 228 as a result of the crackdown on the protests, which began on 15 March and have since mushroomed as people have taken to the streets to express their grievances.
On Tuesday, eight protesters were shot dead by the security forces while staging a peaceful sit-in protest in the city of Homs..
“The lifting of the emergency, so long a symbol of repression and violations of human rights, is a welcome if long overdue step,” said Malcolm Smart.
“But tomorrow will be a real test of the government’s sincerity in undertaking reforms. We must not see more people being shot down in the streets simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday strongly condemned “ongoing violence” by the Syrian government against demonstrators, saying Damascus needed to launch a “serious political process” to end deadly unrest.
Clinton said the United States was particularly concerned about conditions in Homs, where at least 10 people were reported killed in clashes on Tuesday after 20,000 people staged an overnight sit-in protest demanding embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s ouster.
The government “must cease the violence and begin a serious political process,” Clinton said.
WHAT: Demonstration of solidarity with Syrian pro-democracy movement WHEN: Saturday April 23rd at 12:00 Noon in front of the White House WHERE: Lafayette Park, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW – Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON — The continuation of the Syrian regime’s policy of murder, repression and terrorism will not suppress the voice of the Syrian people and their calls for freedom and social and economic justice. The Syrian Emergency Task Force and the Syrian community in the United States of America and Canada, invite you to join us in a demonstration of solidarity and awareness which will take place in front of the White House in Lafayette Park in Washington DC., on Saturday 23 April, 2011 at 12:00 twelve noon to four o’clock.
The Syrian Emergency Task Force is a non profit organization based in the United States. The SETF was created to support the Syrian people’s democratic aspirations and to provide a venue for them to convey those aspirations to the American people.
### For information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 385-6806
PO Box#229, 6920B Braddock Rd. Annandale, VA 22003 (800) 3856806
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact Press Office April 21, 2011
Email: SyrianETF@gmail.com Phone: (800) 385-6806
The video below clearly show Assad thugs taking away the bodies of those who have been assassinated in the dark of night In the town of Lattakia, Syria on April 19, 2011.
Protests in Syria are getting intense. So has social media use by those seeking the latest news. But a more sinister brand of Twitter user has also taken to posting furiously under the same topic protesters have used.
A well-organized campaign with possible traces to the Syrian government has been drowning the #syria hashtag in spam–forcing Twitter to intervene and to block the spam accounts from appearing in searches. Shortly thereafter, at least one of accounts began threatening a well-known Syrian free speech activist.
The story broke when Anas Qteish, a Syrian expatriate “blogger, translator [and] tech enthusiast” based in the United States, noted at the GlobalVoices site that a number ofTwitter spam accounts had popped up after the beginning of the Syrian protests. The accounts Qteish mentioned posted primarily in Arabic. These spam accounts, with names such as @thelovelysyria, @syriabeauty, @syleague, @karamahclub, @syhumor, @dnnnewsand @mbking13 all regularly posted automated tweets full of nonsense unrelated to happenings in Syria with the #syria hashtag appended. One account, for example only posted old sports scores.
Wed Apr 20, 2011
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