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Thousands march at protesters' funeral in Syria

Thursday March 24, 2011 08:08:30 PM, DPA

Damascus/Cairo: Thousands took to the streets of the Syrian city of Daraa Thursday for the funeral of protesters killed by security forces in a crackdown on dissent, witnesses said.

The army and police were out in force in the southern city where more violence was feared, a day after security forces stormed a mosque, killing 22 protesters and medical personnel, witnesses said.

Snipers were reportedly stationed on rooftops near the Omaria mosque, the scene of Wednesday's crackdown and the focal point of protests for more freedom and an end to emergency law.

At the time, medical staff, protesters and hundreds injured in earlier clashes with security forces were in and around the mosque.

City residents described the events as a "massacre", adding that women and children were among the dead. More than 250 people were reported to have been injured.

Amongst the casualties were residents from nearby areas who were shot after being allowed into Daraa by security forces, who have controlled entry and exit points to the city for several days.

The US Wednesday condemned the violence.

"We're deeply concerned by the Syrian government's use of violence, intimidation and arbitrary arrests to hinder the ability of its people to freely exercise their universal rights," US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

Six people were killed in Daraa in clashes earlier in the week.

In some cases, protesters have also called for an end to the leadership of Bashar al-Assad, who took over as president after the death of his father in 2000.

Journalists and activists have been arrested by security forces throughout the country in recent days. Mobile phone and internet communication networks in the city have been disrupted.

Syria has been ruled by the Baath party since 1963. Political freedoms in the country are severely restricted.

 

 

 

 

 

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President of India Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil addressing at the inauguration of the National Festival of Tribal Dances, ‘PRAKRITI’, in New Delhi on March 16, 2011. Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Culture, Kum. Selja, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Kantilal Bhuria and Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Mahadev S. Khandela are also seen.

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