The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

Demonstrations sweep Middle East, sparking violence in Syria and Yemen – Auckland protest today!

9 April 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2pm, Aotea Square, Auckland City

SYRIA SOLIDARITY PROTEST: Dear all, Protests have spread throughout the Arab World causing a new chapter to be put down in history; however, every people movement has its own story. None of these are the same, contrary to the belief of many. Each has its own unique economic, political and social factors involved.

The Syrian people were inspired to rise up after the atrocious torture of a group of 10-15 year old students by Government forces. These kids were tortured by means of tearing off their finger nails, amongst other atrocious actions for the crime of writing phrases calling for freedom on their school walls, expressing their frustration just like any normal children.

The Syrian people have been peacefully protesting since the 15th of March demanding their most basic rights of Freedom, Democracy, Equality and Justice, …etc. Catastrophically, the regime has suppressed the protesters by opening fire on them and thus killing and injuring hundreds if not thousands over the last two weeks. Beside this being totally inhumane it’s actually a complete breach of international law.

While the protesters are determined to keep their demonstrations peaceful, the regime continues suppressing them via the use of extreme violence in the absence of media. This Saturday we will be gathering at Aotea Square to show our support and solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Syrian people fighting for their basic rights.

Join us on Saturday to show your support for this worthy cause and spread the word to your club members.


Demonstrations sweep Middle East, sparking violence in Syria and Yemen

By Fredrick Kunkle, Friday, April 8, 7:08 PM

CAIRO — Massive protests calling for the ouster of Syria’s authoritarian president turned deadly again Friday, with witnesses and human rights workers reporting the deaths of as many as three dozen protesters across the country and the government saying for the first time that members of its security forces had also been killed.

As the uprising demanding the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad entered its fourth week, protesters took to the streets after Friday noon prayers chanting, “God, freedom, Syria!” in the volatile southern city of Daraa, the capital, Damascus, and the cities of Latakia, Tartous, Homs and Harasta, according to a human rights activist in Damascus who has been in touch with other activists around Syria.

In several of those areas, violent clashes broke out between demonstrators and security forces, with the worst violence occurring in Daraa, where the protests originated last month. At least 25 people were killed in the city and demonstrators had turned the Omari Mosque into a hospital, rights activists said.

“The situation there is disastrous,” the activist in Damascus said, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Ammar Qurabi, chair of the Syrian National Organization for Human Rights, said at least 37 people died nationwide, including 30 in and around Daraa. Qurabi, who is in Egypt, said outages of cellphone service forced human rights workers to use service from neighboring Jordan to follow events there.

State-run media reported that 19 security personnel were killed and 75 injured in Daraa. The Sana news agency blamed the shootings on “armed groups” firing from rooftops and masked gunmen riding motorcycles through the crowds. Witnesses also described the torching of a building belonging to the ruling Baath Party.

The violence continued into the night, with security forces opening fire on demonstrators who continued to gather at a square in Latakia, the activist said.

“There are families, not just young people” among the demonstrators, the activist said.

The protests appear to have unnerved the regime led by Assad, whose family has controlled Syria for more than 40 years. The 45-year-old president, who inherited power from his father 11 years ago, was initially seen as a reformer, but he has remained an autocrat whose country is one of the most rigid in the Middle East.

In the face of the protests, Assad has offered only limited steps toward reform, stopping short of lifting the country’s reviled emergency laws. The gestures have failed to satisfy a growing protest movement that is demanding concrete changes and free elections.

The Syrian government has blamed armed gangs and foreign instigators for the violence, insisting that the protests do not reflect authentic calls for change.

In Yemen, witnesses and medical officials said security forces fired guns and tear gas canisters in the southern city of Taiz, killing three people and injuring scores of others, during protests calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. But Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years, issued a defiant statement suggesting he had no plans to relinquish control or begin talks with the opposition.

Tens of thousands of pro- and anti-government demonstrators also took to the streets in the capital, Sanaa.

In Jordan, a man was in critical condition after setting himself on fire Thursday in front of the prime minister’s office, in the first such act of protest there, emulating the action of a Tunisian vendor late last year that triggered a chain reaction of protests across the region.

In Cairo, tens of thousands of Egyptians flocked to Tahrir Square following midday prayers to demand that ousted president Hosni Mubarak and members of his former government be held to account for repressing and looting the country.

“We will never stop these demonstrations until the corrupt officials are put on trial,” said Khaled Ahmed, a 39-year-old hotel worker.

Correspondent Sudarsan Raghavan in Sanaa, Yemen, and special correspondent Haitham Tabei in Cairo contributed to this report.


April 9, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: