Syrian army deploys to stop protests in Deraa

Officials try to calm demonstrators calling for freedom after funeral for activist killed by security forces.

March 21, 2011 14:40
1 minute read.
Protests in Syria

Syria Protest 311. (photo credit: Youtube)

DAMASCUS - The Syrian army deployed on Monday at the entrances to the southern city of Deraa as officials tried to calm passions following protests for freedom in which five civilians were killed, residents said.

Thousands of mourners marched at the funeral of 23-year-old Raed al-Kerad who died on Sunday, the latest of five protesters to be killed by security forces. Mourners chanted slogans demanding political freedom and an end to corruption.

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"God, Syria, freedom. The people want the overthrow of corruption," they chanted.

The slogan is a play on the words "the people want the overthrow of the regime," the rallying cry of the revolutions that overthrew the entrenched leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and spread across the Arab world.

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The mourners later gathered at the al-Omari mosque in the old quarter of Deraa near the border with Jordan.

Troops set up checkpoints at the entrances of Deraa and were checking identity cards. The Syrian justice minister arrived at a city hall.

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