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Tension rises in Syria

Tension rises in Syria
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More protests in Deraa and other cities in Syria, with posters of the president torn down and shoes flying through the air at Bashar al-Assad.

But again the people, despite marching to chants of “peace”, were fired on, and the city is burying more of its dead today.

With thousands gathered for the funerals a Baath party office and a police station were torched in nearby Tafas.

The president has said some 260 political prisoners will be released on top of promises to look at more freedoms and lift the Emergency laws, in force since 1963, but opposition figures say this is not enough.

And the protests are becoming more widespread; Damascus saw a protest broken up by police, and three people were later shot dead; protesters at Sanamein were fired on with heavy loss of life and there have been marches in Hama.

29 years ago Bashar’s father, Hafez killed 20,000 in Hama and razed the old quarter when he was president. Yesterday in Deraa his statue toppled.