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Damascus suburb protesters demand Assad overthrow(Reuters)


AMMAN, May 22 (Reuters) – Thousands of Syrians at a funeral in a Damascus suburb for a protester killed by security forces called on Sunday for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, a witness said, in the latest outburst against autocratic rule.

“The people want the overthrow of the regime,” mourners chanted as they streamed out of the Big Mosque in Saqba, according to the witness, echoing the rallying cry of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions which swept out two of the most rulers in the Arab world.

The witness, a resident of the suburb who followed the funeral and was speaking by phone, said the mourners also chanted the name of “Martyr Ziad al-Qadi”, killed when security forces fired live rounds at a Saqba demonstration on Saturday. 

“A large demonstration (on Saturday) calling for the overthrow of the regime had been going on since the afternoon. It felt like the whole of Saqba took to the streets. Security forces entered in the evening and started firing,” the same witness said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain, said it had the names of 863 civilians who had been killed in shootings by security forces on demonstrations across Syria since the pro-democracy uprising erupted 10 weeks ago.

The Observatory said scores are missing and are feared dead, which would bring the total killed to over 1,000 demonstrators.

REPEATED KILLINGS AT FUNERALS

In what has become a hallmark of repression against protesters, security forces shot dead 11 mourners in the central city of Homs on Saturday at a mass funeral for people killed in the latest crackdown, a witness and rights campaigners said.

Human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouna said she had the names of at least 11 people killed when the funeral at Nasr cemetery for 10 pro-democracy demonstrators killed on Friday came under fire.

“The shooting was in cold blood. People were streaming peacefully out of the cemetery,” a resident of Homs said.

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