Saturday, April 9, 2011

Syrian Protesters Massacred; Egyptian Demonstrators Beaten

It was not a good day for freedom-seeking Arabs.

Conditions continue to deteriorate in Syria for pro-democracy demonstrators who faced a government bent on using deadly force today to silence the opposition. Relations between Egyptian protesters and the military leadership also turned violent today.

In the southern Syrian city of Daraa, where protesters first took to the streets threee weeks ago, security forces shot and killed at least 22 people and wounded hundreds more. Four others were killed in the western city of Hims, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"More than 10 people have been martyred so far. The security forces attacked Al-Omari mosque and Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abbasid mosque in that station area," an eyewitness told Australian radio. "They first dispersed the demonstrators using an internationally prohibited gas. It was not tear gas. They used an internationally prohibited gas in these attacks. The security forces fired live ammunition at the people to disperse them."

The U.S. condemned the violence in Syria and called on the government of Bashar al-Assad to end the crackdown. Pro-democracy protesters hnave not been appeased by Assad's token reforms.

In Egypt, dozens of demonstrators were beaten with batons in Tahrir Square when security forces moved in on the largest protest since Hosni Mubarak was toppled.

The Egyptian people have become frustrated with the heavy-handedness of the formerly sympathetic military government, The New York Times reports. Many Engyptians also want Mubarak to be charged with crimes against his people.

"This means that the army is getting into a direct confrontation with the people, over Mubarak of all people. This could break the country,” Tweeted activist Mahmoud Salem, who is better known by his Twitter handle, @Sandmonkey.

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