Syria braces for ‘Martyrs Week’, general strike in Daraa | Pakistan Today

Syria braces for ‘Martyrs Week’, general strike in Daraa

NICOSIA – Syria was bracing on Tuesday for a series of demonstrations organised by a Facebook group to mark “Martyrs Week” as the southern town of Daraa held a general strike. “Martyrs Week” is a series of rallies in honour of those killed in security crackdowns on anti-regime demonstrations and is organised by a group calling itself Syrian Revolution 2011.
“We announced (the protests) as peaceful and insist on that,” said a spokesman for the group, which has garnered more than 100,000 supporters online and proved a persistent motor of anti-regime rallies. “The Week of the Martyrs will be a thorn in the regime’s side,” said the organisers who designated Tartus and Latakia, two coastal towns “far from the capital” as Tuesday’s protest centres.
The group also called for a boycott of cell phone companies on Wednesday, a rally against the ruling Baath party on Thursday outside its Damascus headquarters, and countrywide demonstrations on Friday. From Daraa, a rights activist told AFP on condition of anonymity: “The general strike was largely observed.” Activists had distributed leaflets urging shops to remain closed on Tuesday, he added.
He said security forces fired warning shots on Monday night trying “in vain” to disperse a sit-in outside the Al-Omari mosque, the focal point of three weeks of anti-government protests marred by deadly violence. The strike came a day after President Bashar al-Assad appointed a new governor to the restive agricultural town, one of the main flashpoints of an opposition movement that erupted on March 15.
The move was dismissed as not enough by Syrian human rights activists because “the residents of Daraa want more than a switch in governor.”

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