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Large-scale protests erupt across Syria

04-23-2011 08:40 BJT

DAMASCUS, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Unprecedented anti-government protests erupted on Friday in main Syrian cities of Damascus, Daraa, Homs, Hama, Banias, Der-Elzour, Qamaishli and others.

Witnesses told Xinhua that thousands of pro-democracy protesters rallied in the main cities chanting for change and anti- government slogans in what activists had dubbed "the Great Friday".

According to pan-Arab al-Jazeera TV report, security forces used live bullets and tear gas to disperse demonstrations in some cities. Al-Jazeera said at least 15 people were shot dead during clashes with the security forces.

The protests came one day after Syrian President Bashar al- Assad announced lifting the country's state of emergency in place since 1963, abolishing the State Security Court and gave the people the right of peaceful demonstration.

Pro-democracy protests erupted five weeks ago in Daraa, 100 km south to Damascus and spread to other parts of the country. Some 200 Syrians have been killed so far in clashes between protesters and security forces, according to human rights groups.

Syria's protests are inspired by unrest erupted recently in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and other states in the Arab world that calling for change by overthrowing the ruling regimes.

Syrian authorities hold "foreign powers" responsible for feeding the turmoil in Syria to fuel the sectarian and ethical strife in the country.

Syrian Interior Ministry had urged the citizens not to stage demonstrations or protest for any reason.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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