If its Friday in Syria, there’s a good bet a large portion of the population is on the streets, protesting in calls for massive reforms to the political system. Today was perhaps the biggest day of protests yet, with several hundred thousand protesters nationwide.
Indeed, the nationwide number could reach one million, as around half a million were reported in the city of Hama alone, which has been the site of some of the biggest recent crackdowns and, consequently, has seen massive rallies.
The violence seemed comparatively down today, despite the massive size of the crowds, and nationwide only 13 were reported killed. This may be a tacit acknowledgement by the Assad regime that the crackdowns are only encouraging more demonstrations.
Indeed, the violent crackdowns seem to be a big reason why the demonstrations have gotten so big in the first place. Starting with just a few hundred demonstrators in Daraa, the movement has grown nationwide, and now includes a significant chunk of the overall population. Violence clearly isn’t working, but it doesn’t seem like the regime has any other answers, beyond empty promises of reform.
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