Tens of thousands protest in Homs, Hama against Assad

June 24, 2011 16:31

AMMAN - Tens of thousands of Syrian protesters took to the streets on Friday calling for President Bashar al-Assad's overthrow, and a rights group said security forces had shot at least one demonstrator dead.

"Tell the world Bashar is without legitimacy," shouted several thousand protesters in the Damascus suburb of Irbin, an eyewitness said, the chants echoing over the phone. Syria has expelled most foreign journalists.

A Syrian rights group said security forces shot dead one protester when they fired at a large demonstration in the town of Kiswa, near Damascus. Syrian television said gunmen, who authorities have blamed for the violence, had opened fire on security forces in the town.

In the central cities of Homs and Hama protesters shouted "the people want the downfall of the regime," while in Deraa, cradle of the uprising, people waved banners rejecting Assad's promise in a speech this week to launch a national dialogue.

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