Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of what Syrian despot Ba shar al-Assad had dubbed "social calm"; he hoped his mixture of promises and repressive measures would silence the pro-democracy uprising that has shaken the Ba'athist regime. Instead, the opposition mounted a "Friday of Resolution," with fresh nationwide marches against tyranny.
In addition to other empty moves, Assad had ordered the release of protesters arrested in the past four weeks provided they had not done "anything that might undermine the interests of the state and the nation's security." Those qualifiers meant that by yesterday evening only nine people had been set free, out of an estimated 1,200 arrested in 18 cities -- and scores more were arrested yesterday.
It's time to go, Bashar: Women at an anti-government demonstration in Daraa yesterday. -
It's time to go, Bashar: Women at an anti-government demonstration in Daraa yesterday.
To be sure, the opposition didn't succeed in organizing a major march in the capital. But a crowd of no more than 600 marched from Damascus to the nearby town of Douma, where security forces have killed at least 30 demonstrators in the past two weeks.
Yesterday was a success for the opposition. It managed to defy the massive security buildup to hold demonstrations in at least 20 cities, underlining its nationwide appeal. It also managed to show its presence in Aleppo, the country's second most populous city, which had remai... >>>
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