Thousands of protesters streamed into the streets of several Syrian cities today.
They brought down a statue of the former dictator.
Assad forces reportedly started to shoot on the freedom protesters. At least 20 are dead.
The Guardian reported on the violence:
Live bullets and teargas used against people in Damascus and several other cities during rallies after Friday prayers.
At least 20 people are reported to have been killed after Syrian security forces shot at protesters during a day of demonstrations around the country against the autocratic rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
The violent official response to what activists massing against the regime had labelled “Great Friday” also saw security forces use tear gas to disperse protesters in Damascus.
It came just a day after Assad signed a decree on lifting a state of emergency law, in force continuously for 48 years. Separately, the first person who submitted an application to hold a protest under the new legal regime, named as Fadel al-Faisal from Hassakeh, was detained by police for several hours after doing so.
According to witnesses, who say the eventual death toll could be much higher, security forces opened fire on a series of demonstrations, including one in the city of Hama, where Assad’s father crushed an armed Islamist uprising nearly 30 years ago.
“We saw two snipers on the building. None of us had weapons. There are casualties, possibly two dead,” an unnamed witness told Reuters from Hama.
UPDATE: Voice of America reported that 38 protesters were killed.