In what has been seen as the the first major show of discontentment with the Syrian government, specifically Bashar al-Assad, protests erupted throughout the country today. In the southern city of Daraa where the most significant anti-government protests took place, violent clashes broke out between the protesters and Syrian security services.
In Daraa today, 3 people were killed and many more wounded. Responding to these reports Ban Ki-moon the UN Secretary General, described the violent & deadly crackdown on protesters as unacceptable. The UN Secretary General said he "urges the Syrian authorities to refrain from violence and to abide by their international commitments regarding human rights which guarantee the freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom of the press and the right to peaceful assembly."
The protesters in the Syrian city were said to be chanting "God, Syria, Freedom" while accusing Bashar al-Assad and his family of corruption.
Meanwhile in Yemen, the President has announced a state-of-emergency as dozens are killed on the most violent day of protests to date.
Ali-Abdullah Saleh declared a state of emergency on the day when over 40 people were killed as a result of a brutal government crackdown on protesters in the capital Sanaa. Abdullah Saleh said the state of emergency was declared by the countries national security council.
The state of emergency has been put into place across the entire country, additionally a curfew is set upon armed people in all Yemeni provinces, the security forces will take responsibility for the enacting the curfew.
Witnesses also reported that pro-government thugs also opened fire on protesters in the university square in the capital as they fight for democratic reforms and ultimately the removal of Abdullah Saleh from power.
Today was a sad moment for the pro-democracy forces in Manama as the symbolic monument, and gathering point for the protesters was torn down by government workers in an attempt to quash future protests.
|Before and After images of the statue at Pearl Roundabout in the Capital Manama|
This move comes after dramatic week in Bahrain, that saw Saudi Arabia send its national guard to bolster government forces and to help regain control of the country.
Saudi forces have been sent after weeks of protests by Shia majority that have crippled the countries economy and brought about sectarian violence.
On Friday, Bahrain's foreign minister Ahmed al-Khalifa said the government remained committed to talks with the opposition, but said that security was the top priority. He also said that 3 or 4 gulf states would be sending forces until stability were restored, however this will inevitably add to anger and frustration amongst Shia majority. Additionally, this potentially adds fuel to fire and may further inflame the situation.