Evening protests in the embattled city of Homs, Syria
1952 GMT: It may not look like much, but this video could be significant. The LCCS reports that this was taken in Kafar Zeta, Hama, and the cameraman holds sign with today's date. There have been reports of defections in the area, and gunfire can be heard in the city. The scene is otherwise quiet, suggesting that whoever is shooting is not shooting at protesters. Also, at one point tracer fire can be seen, suggesting that this conflict is more serious than the gunfire in the foreground. It appears that fires can be seen in the distance:
1949 GMT: Activists report a large evening protest in the Damascus suburb of Harasta:
1940 GMT: The video claims to show that Assad's supporters were actually bused to the event in Lattakia today. From the details in the video, there is no way of verifying that report:
The protesters left Change Square, outside Sanaa University which has become the epicentre of anti-government demonstrations, and marched towards Al-Zubairi Avenue in central Sanaa.
Perhaps it is a sad statement that not-shooting protesters may be a sign that the Saleh regime is finally willing to compromise. More likely, in our estimation, the security forces are becoming concerned that every day since Friday the anti-government protests seem to have been picking up steam, despite the high casualty rates inflicted on the protesters.
Al Jazeera posts this picture of the protests:
1824 GMT: Contrast that last video, Assad's supporters, with this one, his dissenters in Khalidaya, Homs:
1816 GMT: Earlier we posted SANA's coverage of a pro-Assad rally in Lattakia, Syria. Now we see this video, the rally from up close:
The first observation is the noise... or lack of it. No chanting or enthusiasm in any way is apparent at the rally. Even if these people support Assad, and wish the protests and violence would end, it's a far cry from the enthusiastic throng described in the SANA videos.
The second observation confirms what we reported earlier, that the sidewalks behind the people holding the flaf are hardly packed with people. This crowd appears to be much thinner than SANA stated.
A medical source told Al Jazeera that at least 12 people had been killed and 45 injured in Thursday's attacks in the northeast of the city.
But other officials put the death toll at 18, according to Reuters and AP news agencies.
"In area 2 there is not one building that has been spared. It makes it impossible for hundreds of families to return home."
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the troops began planting the mines at dawn in an area facing two Lebanese villages -- Knaysseh and Al-Hnayder -- in an apparent bid to stem weapons smuggling along the porous border.
"A number of Syrian soldiers were also seen deploying on their side of the border, near the Syrian villages of Heet and Buwayt," he said.
The Local Co-ordination Committees, which report on protests in Syria, say seven people have been killed in Syria today. Four of those were in Homs, where it said 10 people were killed yesterday, two in Dara'a, including a 14-year-old in Daeel (see 12.10pm) and one in Jableh, a coastal city on the Mediterranean.
1508 GMT: Video reportedly taken at the funeral for 14 year old Ibrahim Oyoun in Douma, Damascus, today:
1502 GMT: TIME's Massimo Calabresi talks to CNN about how Hillary Clinton has been influential in the Arab Spring movement, including potentially training and empowering dissident journalists in Syria:
1441 GMT: Tanks and armored vehicles reportedly patrol the major thoroughfares of Homs, Syria:
1434 GMT: Reportedly taken today in the Baba Amr district of Homs, this video claims to show a home hit by a "nail bomb," an anti-personnel fragmentation shell:
1428 GMT: The UN has suspended the mandate that supported the NATO campaign in Libya, meaning that the no-fly zone will be lifted by the end of the month. This is breaking news.
1417 GMT: The European Parliament has awarded the 2011 Sakharov Prize to 5 human rights activists who had leading roles during Arab Spring. The most notable name on the list, Mohamed Bouazizi, is the 26 year old Tunisian man who lit himself on fire in protest last December, sparking protests worldwide.
The other Sakharov Prize winners are Asmaa Mahfouz, an Egyptian activist and one of the founders of the April 6 Youth Movement; Ahmed al-Zubair Ahmed al-Sanusi, an activist who spent 31 years in Libyan prisons after a coup attempt against Moammar Gadhafi and now is working with the post-Gadhafi National Transitional Council; Razan Zaitouneh, a human rights lawyer who created the Syrian Human Rights Information Link, a blog reporting on atrocities including murders and human rights abuses by the Syrian army and police; and Ali Farzat, a political cartoonist known for targeting Syrian President Bashar Assad.
1356 GMT: Syrian State TV, SANA, is claiming that there a more large pro-Assad rallies, including 1 million people gathered in Lattakia. A few interesting things to note about the video. First of all, that giant rippling flag looks exactly the same as the giant rippling flag from yesterday's protests in Damascus. Unlike the opposition flags, it doesn't look hand made as there are no seams, and it is clearly not fragile. The other thing to note is that, like yesterday's rally, we only see video of the main square and a single main street running in and out of it. As such, there are probably only 30-50,000 people on camera; large, but a far cry from 1 millions, and approximately the same size as anti-regime protests we saw in the spring and early summer in the same square.
The last thing to note: if you look down the road from the big flag, the street appears to be empty. In a few other shots, there appears to be gaps at the back of the crowd, though SANA is very careful to mask them. Having been in crowds of hundreds of thousands, and even millions, of people as many mass events, I seriously doubt SANA's accuracy on the "1 million people" claim:
Meanwhile, the opposition is staging counter-protests all over the country. This video is reportedly taken in Bousr al Harer, Daraa:
Women protest today, reportedly in Taybat El Imam, Hama. In both videos, the signs have today's date in Arabic numerals:
1339 GMT: James Miller takes the liveblog, and as is too often the case, reports the death of another child.
The LCCS is reporting that four people have been killed in Syria today, including a 14 year old boy in Dael, Daraa. The Guardian reports:
Activist group, the Local Co-ordination Committees, named the 14-year-old, killed in the southern village of Dael, in Dara'a as Amjad Hamed Assimy. A very distressing video has been posted online (WARNING: graphic), purporting to be of Amjad. It shows blood pouring from his head as another boy calls his name in the background.
Activists say security forces have arrested more than 100 people in Dara'a today, according to al-Arabiya.
0830 GMT: Members of the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU) have met a delegation from the US Department of Labor, discussing the issues of hundreds of workers fired for taking part in protests in February and March.
The US group has also reportedly met regime officials.
On 21 April, the GFBTU filed complaints with the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisation over the dismissal of the workers.
0810 GMT: An EA source reports from the Bahraini capital:
Early this morning protesters blocked the main highway leading to the Financial District. The highway was blocked by wooden obstacles and used car oil. A banner says, "Sorry for closing the road, but the Government did not give us any other option to protest."
This has caused a huge traffic jam. Once employees started going to their work, police had to use sand to cover the oil and open the highway.
0410 GMT: Some of the hardest videos to watch have been from Syria, where it seems almost every week there are heartbreaking reports of young children being killed by Syrian soldiers. What's even more concerning is that, based on video evidence, many of the children were killed inside their own homes.
According to the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, and other activist groups, at least 17 people were killed yesterday in Syria, including three children, one of them only 18 months old:
17 martyrs today, 10 martyrs in Homs including two children: one is 4 years old and the other one is one and a half years old with her father, a 12 years old child in Douma in Damascus Suburbs,three martyrs in Saraqeb among them is a 10 years old boy, two martyrs in Jobar in Damascus Suburbs, and a martyr in Bokamal.
The Syrian regime has been expanding their military campaign against the protesters, but it still is not working. Like Scott Lucas said a few days ago, it's like trying to nail jelly to a wall. The problem, however, is that the collateral damage is often under the age of 18.
Many of the people being killed are not protesters in the street, not people who have already sworn that the "people want the execution of the president," but the people being hurt are often the people who have not yet taken to the streets. One has to wonder, how long can Bashar al Assad afford to inflict collateral damage of this nature? How many lives will have to be accidentally lost before he starts to kill away his own support?
Meanwhile, in Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh told officials that he would step down within 30 days in accordance with the GCC resolution. We've heard this before, months ago, many times, and it has been exponentially longer than 30 days. Will he keep this promise? Between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, more than 20 people were killed, and there were more protests yesterday. And on Tuesday afternoon, a ceasefire was supposed to go into effect. He didn't keep that promise.
Even if Saleh intends on following the GCC deal, it is becoming hard to imagine a contrite regime making nice with a forgiving opposition movement, while the generous tribal forces stay out of the power struggle. In the meantime, none of the protesters on the street, and none of General Mohsen's tribal fighters, seem to even be paying attention to the latest in a long line of broken promises made by the Yemeni regime.