SYRIA: Momentum builds ahead of anticipated Friday protests( LA Times)
Syrians took to the streets once again Wednesday in mass protests across the country calling for unity among citizens and the downfall of the regime, building momentum for anticipated nationwide demonstrations Friday.
No demonstrators were reported killed in Wednesday’s rallies, but Syrian state media claimed three security forces were killed in Homs by armed terrorists.
The fresh rallies came as protesters gear up for planned demonstrations Friday under the slogan of the “Friday of home defenders,” according to the activist site The Syrian Revolution 2011 on Facebook, a clearinghouse for information on the uprising.
Meanwhile in Europe, diplomats are trying to tighten the screws on the Syrian regime by starting to push the U.N. Security Council to vote on a resolution condemning Syria for its bloody crackdown against pro-democracy protesters, the Reuters news agency reported on Thursday.
Many of Wednesday’s protests took place as night fell on Syrian cities and towns after the evening Muslim prayer, a tactic begun in the coastal city of Lattakia and which has spread to other cities as a way to outwit security forces and avoid arrests.
In the mostly Sunni Muslim city of Homs in the central part of the country, two large demonstrations were reported near the city center, and in the central city of Hama amateur video footage posted to the Internet showed hundreds of men boisterously marching and chanting.
In Idlib, on the outskirts of the country’s second-largest city, Aleppo, in the northern part of Syria, mostly college students gathered and chanted, “We don’t want the army to enter our city,” according to Syrian activist accounts.
In Damascus, the capital, at least two demonstrations took place in which people chanted for the cities under military siege, including the southern town of Dara, which has become the epicenter of anti-government protests. In the video below, men are seen gathered outside a mosque after prayers chanting, “one hand, one hand.”
Activist reports also said that Syrian lawyer Haitham Khaled, a former member of the Council of Damascus Suburbs Syndicate of Lawyers, was arrested Wednesday as he was leaving Dumeir, an area near the protest-stricken town of Duma.
One of the few protests held during daytime was a small gathering of women in the Damascus suburb of Dariya who peacefully and silently walked down a street holding signs demanding the release of all detainees. In the video below, the women are shown holding signs that read, “The people of Syria only call for what is just” and “The people want prosecution of the murderer.”
Many of the women protesters wore large sunglasses or covered their faces in an apparent bid to hide their identity from authorities.
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