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Syrian forces fire on protesters in Homs as crackdown intensifies

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Tara Bahrampour,
Washington Post
April 19, 2011

Syrian security forces fired at thousands of protesters early Tuesday in the central city of Homs, breaking up a demonstration to demand the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, activists said.

At least one person was reported killed when the security forces assaulted a downtown square, firing live ammunition and tear gas to dislodge protesters and chasing them through the streets.

Protesters had begun a sit-in Monday night in New Clock Square in the center of Homs, about 100 miles north of Damascus, after a day of funerals for people killed the previous night by state security forces. Renaming the place “Liberation Square,” the demonstrators chanted slogans such as, “The people want to topple the regime.” They had vowed to remain there in the same manner as Egyptian protesters whose demands for regime change led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in January.

“It was the biggest demonstration we have seen so far all over Syria,” said Wissam Tarif, director of the human rights group INSAN, whose members observed the rally. It was also the most organized demonstration yet, he said, with activists and an imam giving speeches and people setting up tents.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 9:07 am

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