Syria Forces Fire on City Square

Protesters vowed not to leave until government is brought down
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 19, 2011 1:40 AM CDT
Updated Apr 19, 2011 4:27 AM CDT
Syrian anti-government protesters march in a demonstration in Banias, Syria. Now protesters have taken over the main square in the nation's third-largest city, Homs.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Security forces opened fire with live ammunition and tear gas on hundreds of anti-government demonstrators in a major square in Homs today, killing at least one, witnesses said. "They shot at everything, there was smoke everywhere," an activist told the AP by phone. "I saw people on the ground, some shot in their feet, some in the stomach." Thousands of Syrian protesters had flooded the center of the nation's third-largest city and vowed not to leave until the nation's government is brought down.

One participant said the protest at Al-Saa Square, which demonstrators have renamed "Tahrir Square" in honor of the uprising in Cairo, will "continue until all our demands are satisfied." Witnesses said checkpoints had been set up by citizens around the city to keep out the military. Syria's interior minister has characterized the action as part of an "armed insurrection." The occupation of the square followed mass funeral processions for slain protesters in Homs and Baniyas. At least 12 people were killed in Homs when soldiers opened fire on crowds protesting the death of a detained tribal leader. Check here for news reports on secret US backing for Syrian protesters.

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