Syrian regime lashes out at protests

Submitted by Matthew on 30 March, 2011 - 1:06

The uprising which began in the southern Syrian town of Deraa on 18 March continues to shake the nasty, brutal regime of Bashar Assad.

Protesters have been demanding more political freedom and have targeted businesses run by Assad’s relations. On Monday demonstrators converged on a main square in Deraa chanting: “We want dignity and freedom!" and "No to Emergency Laws!” The protesters also want the release of thousands of political prisoners.

On Saturday, demonstrators set fire to the ruling Baath party’s local headquarters in Tafas.

Government thugs and gunmen have killed over 100 people and Amnesty International has listed 93 people the state has detained.

Following the murderous crackdown by state forces last week there are signs that the regime is divided about how to respond to the pro-democracy protesters.

Although the army has been sent into Latakia, where the local hospital treated 90 demonstrators — mostly for gunshot wounds — on Friday, the government has also been signalling it will make concessions.

Some political prisoners — mainly Islamists — have been released. There are rumours that the State of Emergency — in place for nearly 50 years, since the Baath party took power in a coup in 1963 — will be abolished.

Some at the centre of the state seem to favour all-out repression, others a “dialogue”. Bashar Assad has not made any public comment since the start of the protests. Al-Jazeera explain Assad’s absence by quoting a senior diplomat in Damascus: “I think [Assad] is not decided on whether to go on television and try to defuse the situation or choose an even more brutal crackdown route.”

He added, “I do not see Assad scrapping the emergency law without replacing it with something just as bad.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said there will be no US intervention in Syria along the lines of the action in Libya. She explained that the US saw Assad as a “reformer”.

It seems that Clinton is responding to Saudi, Jordanian and Israeli pressure — all these states are worried about the threat to regional stability caused by the rebellion.

We, however, champion the movement for democracy in Syria. It will be a great day for human freedom when the Syrian people sweep away their absurd, corrupt government. For liberty and democracy!

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