anti-government protest in Maarat al-Numan, Syria.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Tens of thousands of Syrians are expected to gather outside the Syrian Parliament in Damascus on Sunday morning in order to protest the high cost of living and especially the government's recent decision to raise fuel prices.
Syrian activists created an event on Facebook calling on all "national forces, political parties, civil society organizations and all the people who are tired of living in distress in this country due to terror and corruption" to attend a "peaceful demonstration to condemn the government's decision" at 11:00 A.M outside the parliament.
Last week, the Syrian government announced its decision to raise fuel prices so that liter of gasoline now costs 225 Syrian Pounds instead of 160 Syrian Pounds, and a liter of heating oil is 180 Syrian Pounds rather than 135 Syrian Pounds.
According to Mohammad Sleiman, the current government is a provisional government, which is not allowed, according to the Syrian constitution, to raise fuel prices.
"Almost 90% of the Syrian population is below the poverty line. This is not the first time the regime decides to raise fuel prices: under the current government they rose in about 900%," Sleiman wrote on his Facebook page.
"However, this time the Syrian street will not only denounce this atrocious decision; It will gather outside the Parliament during its Sunday session to demand it to pressure the government to cancel the decision," Sleiman added.
In light of the delicate situation in conflict-ridden Syria, the demonstration is feared of igniting violent clashes between the civilian protestors and the regime's security forces that have previously oppressed peaceful protests.
This is especially possible because, according to one of the demonstration's organizers, Jafar Mashhadia, the protest will take place without official permission from the government.
"We did not ask anyone for permission to voice our opinion, defending citizens' rights and the sacrifices of the people and the army," Mashaadia wrote on Facebook.
As of Sunday morning, more than 10,000 people had confirmed their participation in the demonstration on Facebook.