Syrian activists call general strike in new tactic (Associated Press)
BEIRUT – Syrian protesters called Tuesday for a one-day nationwide general strike, urging students to skip school and workers to bring commerce to a halt in a new strategy of defiance against government crackdowns that appear to be turning more brutal and bloody.
The strike, planned for Wednesday, marks a shift by opposition forces to strike at President Bashar Assad‘s regime from new angles: its economic underpinnings and ability to keep the country running during two months of widening battles.
A sweeping popular acceptance of the strike call would be an embarrassing blow to Assad and show support for the uprising in places, such as central Damascus, where significant protests have yet to take hold and security forces have choked off the few that have taken place.
“It will be a day of punishment for the regime from the free revolutionaries … Massive protests, no schools, no universities, no stores or restaurants and even no taxis. Nothing,” said a statement posted on the main Facebook page of the Syrian Revolution 2011.
The strike call came as the United States and European Union planned new sanctions against the Syrian leadership. In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters that the tighter measures could be imposed in the coming days.