'Syrian police, militiamen attack Kurdish protesters'

Amid intensified crackdown, protests continue in Homs, Latakia, Deraa; police, tens of thousands take to the streets; 5 killed in Homs overnight.

By REUTERS
July 22, 2011 17:14
1 minute read.
Demonstration in Syrian city of Hajar al-Aswad

Demonstration in Syrian city of Hajar al-Aswad 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

Hundreds of police and militiamen loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad used batons to attack thousands of pro-democracy protesters in the country's mainly Kurdish city of Qamishli on Friday, witnesses said.

Police fired teargas to disperse protesters, injuring several people, witnesses added, in first major crackdown on Kurdish demonstrators reported since the start of the four-month uprising against Assad's rule.

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The protesters shouted slogans demanding political freedoms, an end to discrimination against Syria's Kurdish minority, witnesses told Reuters.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Syria after Friday prayers, activists and witnesses said, protesting against Syrian President Bashar Assad and defying an intensified military crackdown on their uprising.

Demonstrations demanding an end to Assad's rule broke out in the Medan district of Damascus, the besieged city of Homs, Latakia on the coast, the southern city of Deraa and the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, on the border with Iraq's Sunni heartland, activists said.

At least five civilians were killed overnight as tanks attacked districts in the Syrian city of Homs, residents said.

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