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Authorities gun down protesters in Syria and Yemen

April 18, 2011


Thousands of mourners at a funeral in SyriaThousands of Syrians called for the ouster of President Assad, while Yemenis demanded their leader step down. In both countries, protesters were shot by security forces.

Thousands of Syrian mourners chanted slogans calling for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad at the funeral of a soldier killed during a recent clash between demonstrators and government troops.

Eyewitnesses and activists said at least two people were shot dead during an anti-government protest in central Syria. The actions could not be independently confirmed, but witnesses said gunmen wearing black clothes opened fire on hundreds of people gathered in the town of Talbiseh, north of Homs, in central Syria.

Assad told his new cabinet that emergency rule would end

The chants were reportedly more hostile toward Assad than at other recent demonstrations and appeared to have been prompted by the belief that the soldier who was killed had been tortured by his own military unit.

Assad, meanwhile, vowed to lift emergency rule, which has been in place for nearly 50 years, but in a speech to his new cabinet on Saturday he did not address widespread protester demands to curb Syria’s pervasive security apparatus and dismantle the authoritarian regime.

In the towns of Suweida and Al-Qraya, regime supporters broke up two rallies, injuring a number of demonstrators, who had gathered to celebrate Syrian Independence Day, while chanting anti-Assad slogans.

Yemeni protesters display a new world of dissent

In the northern coastal town of Banias, which has been the scene of a violent security crackdown, some 2,500 people demonstrated for freedom and human rights. They marched under banners that read, “You are in Banias, not in Israel” in a rebuke to officials blaming the recent violence on foreign agitators.

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