Facebook group urges 'Good Friday' demos in Syria
DAMASCUS - A Facebook group has called for "Good Friday" protests in Syria where President Bashar al-Assad's regime has faced more than a month of unprecedented pro-democracy demonstrations.
"Good Friday, April 22, 2011, one heart, one hand, one goal," says the announcement on a banner depicting a cross atop a church between two minarets with crescents.
The call appeared on the Syrian Revolution 2011 page of Facebook, a motor of the protests in which demonstrators inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world are seeking greater freedoms.
Amnesty International says about 220 people have been killed in the crackdown on the protests, which first erupted in the capital Damascus on March 15.
On Tuesday alone, eight people died when security forces opened fire on a protest sit-in at a square in the central industrial city of Homs, activists said.
Syria's cabinet on Tuesday approved a bill to rescind almost 50 years of draconian emergency rule and agreed to abolish the state security court, while also approving a bill to regulate demonstrations.
President Assad said on Saturday that the emergency law would be lifted within a week.
And on Thursday he appointed a new governor in Homs after dismissing his predecessor on April 7 following protest-related violence, said the official SANA news agency.
"President Assad issued a decree naming Imed Mustafa Abdelal governor of Homs" in place of the sacked Mohammed Iyad Ghazal, the report said.