Sunday, May 08, 2011

Syria: Revolution 2011

The demonstrations started on the 26th of January and are ongoing.  The protesters demands are against inflation, unemployment, government corruption, the 48 year emergency law.  They ask for more freedoms and the release of all political prisoners and trials for those who shot and killed the protestors.  Some have been asking for the resignation of Assad.

The demonstrator’s tactics are in the forms of demonstrations, self-immolations, civil resistance and hunger strikes.  The demonstrations have been escalating from a few hundred that started in Daraa to thousands in different cities throughout Syria.  By March 15th they had organized simultaneous demonstrations across Syria and on March 25th it is reported that 100,000 protestors demonstrated in Daraa.

As in other Middle East revolutions, the youth used Facebook  , YouTube and Twitter as a means to organize the demonstrations.  It has been since the 1st of January the Syrian government permitted citizens to sign up for high speed internet, and after that the use of Facebook, YouTube and Amazon were available to the citizens.  Only 26 days after the permission to use the social networks, the revolutions began.

The government resistance to the revolution has been the most violent so far, in the Middle East where as May 8th, 183 to 708 protesters and 111 plus security forces killed, hundreds of injuries and as many as 8,000 protesters have been arrested.

The Syrian army has placed a siege on Baniyas, built checkpoints into Daraa, confiscated flour and food, patrolling the streets with tanks and have used snipers to shoot at any person walking in the streets.  They have also shut of the electricity and water in Daraa.

The organizers of the Revolution say that they will not stop until they see a change, have more freedom, and the Al-assad family is oust. 

Human Rights Watch has stated that Syria has one of the worst human rights situations in the world.  The emergency rule gives security forces powers of arrest and detention as they please.  They have imprisoned human rights activists, suppressed the rights of expression, and assembly are strictly controlled.  Women and ethnic minorities face discrimination and the situation has not improved since al-Assad has come into power 10 years ago.  The Shabbiha are 3,000 paid members of the Alassad family who have the authority to do anything towards the people protesting against the government.  They have been accused for breaking human rights from the viewing of videos on Facebook and YouTube.

The demonstrators have seen a few results from their efforts: 19th of April, the government approved lifting the country’s emergency laws, however the date has not been set.  On 20th March, the government said that it would release 15 children who had been arrested for writing pro-democracy graffiti.

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