Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mideast rebellion soldiers on: Protesters stage rare demo in Syria

Protesters have demonstrated in Damascus, the Syrian capital, in a rare show of dissent against the country's hardline regime.

Witnesses said 40 to 50 people gathered after midday prayers on Tuesday in the Al Hamidiya area near the city's Umayyad Mosque.

A YouTube video showed protesters clapping and chanting "God, Syria, freedom -- that's enough", and "Peaceful, peaceful", a chant heard elsewhere in weeks of protests that have swept through the Arab world.

A voice in the background says: "The date is (March) 15 ... This is the first obvious uprising against the Syrian regime ... Alawite or Sunni, all kinds of Syrians, we want to bring down the regime".

The protest was quickly broken up by government supporters, the AP news agency reported.

Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father as president in 2000, has said there is no chance of unrest elsewhere in the region spreading to Syria. The country has been ruled by al-Assad's Baath Party since 1963.

The regime is considered one of the most repressive in the Middle East with political opposition locked up and media tightly controlled. (read more)