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General strikes reported in Syrian cities - Video Roundup

July 7, 2011

General Strike in Hama

Idlib: General Strike in Binnish city

Idlib: General Strike in Sarmen

Homs: strike in Toujjar (traders) market and the ceiled market

Bokamal General Strike

General Strike in Daraa

Idleb : General Strike in Saraqeb

Homs :General strike in Diblan street (city center)

Hama Suburbs: General Strike in Kafarzeta

Homs: General Strike in Nawora shopping area 7-7-2011

General strikes reported in Syrian cities

By FT reporter in Damascus

July 7, 2011

Protest organisers reported general strikes in several Syrian cities on Thursday over the continuing crackdown by security forces loyal to the president, Bashar al-Assad.

Local coordination committees said strikes were taking place in Hama, the current focus of unrest, along with parts of Homs and cities in Idlib province in the country’s north.

On Wednesday activists reported that as many as 20 people were injured when security forces fired on Mazreb bridge in the city. According to Human Rights Watch at least 16 people have been killed in Hama since Monday as the result of the crackdown on protesters.Video footage posted by activists appeared to show empty streets and shuttered shops, particularly in Hama, which one activist claimed had been turned into a "ghost town".

Meanwhile local media have reported that Syria’s parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for August, have been postponed indefinitely to allow time for political reforms.

The Damascus-based daily Al Watan, which is privately owned but close to the government, quoted "senior government sources" as saying that elections would be postponed to allow new election laws and rules on the formation of political parties to be finalised.

Currently parliamentary elections allow some independent candidates to run for a minority of seats in the parliament, which has little political power, while the rest are allocated to the ruling Ba’ath party and its allies.
In recent weeks the government has published a draft law allowing the formation of new political parties, but this has been met with scepticism among activists who do not believe the regime has any intention of enacting meaningful reforms.
"The people on the streets, we have absolutely zero confidence in this regime," said one activist in Damascus. "It has no intention of changing itself, so it needs to be changed completely, from the top down."

Promises of reform have also failed to halt protests, which have continued to grow in size and frequency and appear to have become significantly more organised in recent weeks.

Hundreds of thousands were reported to have taken to the streets of Hama last week. While in the eastern city of Deir ez-Zour local activists say they are now organising two protests a day, with hundreds of thousands turning out on Fridays.

Veteran opposition figures also have little confidence in the regime’s promises of change. Government sources say several opposition figures have declined invitations to take part in dialogue with the government, due to begin on Sunday.

:: Article nr. 79340 sent on 08-jul-2011 00:57 ECT


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