Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more



Syria, Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Failure to Suppress

2030 GMT: Hundreds & possibly thousands of protesters marched after Friday Prayers in Oman's southern port of Salalah, calling for democratic reform and an end to corruption.

Residents said between 300 and 400 people took part in the protest, but some activists claimed several thousand were present.

2015 GMT: Facing claims that more than 40 medical personnel are missing or detained in Bahrain, the regime is trying a new tactic tonight.

As State TV denounces doctors for lying about their treatment of injured protesters, the Bahrain News Agency has put out this request for people to add their criticisms:

The Health Ministry has called on people in Bahrain who may experience any problem or inconvenience at any medical centre or by any Health Ministry employee to lodge their complaints, supported with their personal information, on the ministry’s e-mail: so that all necessary measures could be taken.

The ministry has asserted that everything is functioning naturally, including Salmaniya Medical Complex and medical centres, after return of life back to normal in Bahrain thanks to the wisdom of the leadership.

1950 GMT: Claimed footage of protesters being shot in Homs today:

1945 GMT: In contrast to the claim of a rights group that at least 21 protesters were slain today, the State news agency SANA asserts that an officer and four policemen were killed by armed groups in Homs.

An activist had said that "eight people were killed and several others gravely wounded by firing from the security forces on a demonstration" in the city.

1805 GMT: European Union officials have agreed punitive sanctions against 13 Syrian officials but --- for the moment --- have refrained from naming President Bashar al-Assad.

Diplomats told AFP that ambassadors of the 27 nations would take a new look on Monday at whether to add Assad's name. They had agreed today to "work without delay on additional restrictive measures against people responsible for violent repression against civilians, and in particular to look fully at including the highest level of the Syrian leadership on the list".

France had urged that Assad's name remain, but several smaller EU nations were hesitant.

1743 GMT: Al Jazeera attempts to clarify reports that the Syrian military and police engaged in a firefight with each other earlier today:

"Meanwhile, SANA said an 'armed criminal group' opened fire fired on a joint army-police-security forces checkpoint in Baba Amr in Homs, killing an officer and four policemen.'"

Activists and eyewitnesses described a different scene. First, the rumor was that the military fired on police forces to protect the civilians. Now, the story is slightly different:

After security forces opened fire earlier today on tens of thousands of protesters the crowd ran for cover, some seeking shelter behind army vehicles, one eyewitness said.

"Then the security started shooting at the vehicles - at both the army and the protesters, and the army shot back," he said.

Both eyewitnesses confirm that the shooting is ongoing and taking place in Bab Draib and Baba Amr.

1736 GMT: Protesters in Oman have staged sit-ins after Friday prayers in three Omani cities, Muscat, Salalah and Sur. The people carried banners that read "The people will not relax until reforms have taken place." 

1732 GMT: Ammar Qurabi, chairman of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, is reporting that 21 have been killed today, 6 in Hama and 15 in Homs. 

1712 GMT: A major preacher and opposition activist in Damascus, Mouaz al-Khatib, has been arrested by Syrian secret police. 

This news comes as the Guardian is updating today's death toll to 12.

1706 GMT: Huge anti-government (and peaceful) protests aginst President Saleh in Taiz, Yemen, today.

1659 GMT: Cyber War! Al Jazeera is reporting (and we have confirmed) that multiple Syrian government websites, including the interior ministry's, have been knocked offline, apparently at the hands of a Denial of Service (DDoS) attack by the hacking group Anonymous. Anonymous accounts on Twitter have declared #OpSyria to be open, demanding justice for protesters and freedom for journalists, including Al Jazeera's Dorothy Parvaz, detained since last week.

1520 GMT: We very cautiously post this next update. There are reports that the military has fired on security forces in an attempt to protect anti-government protesters. Shaam News is reporting that the military and security forces have exchanged gunfire near Aldreb, and a source in Damascus has this report:  

"Military in Homs is protecting the people and is shooting on the security forces"

1508 GMT: A source living in Damascus is reporting that there are mass arrests in Al Bad, Aleppo, where security forces are beating people with electric batons.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Syrian government information ministry is telling Al Jazeera that the figures that over 500 protesters have been killed are completely false. Also, she is claiming that protests are only being disrupted because they are not licensed. 

1445 GMT: In Cairo, about 300 protesters marched in front of the U.S. embassy, expressing their anger at the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Simultaneously, a larger crowd marched in support of the Arab Spring (picture below), in solidarity with pro-democracy movements elsewhere in the region. An EA correspondent notes that it is a good sign that these two protest movements are separate, as it is yet another sign of the moderate attitudes of the pro-democracy youth.

1424 GMT: An eyewitness in Daraa has a very different view than what the main-stream media has reported, that the Syrian regime may have pulled tanks out of Daraa, but the city is completely surrounded by soldiers:

"The man I spoke with, who prefers to remain anonymous, said there are no demonstrations in Daraa today because President Bashar al-Assad’s army has surrounded the city.

"He says there are no resources: no food, water, medicine or electricity.

"He also says Assad’s forces are going around asking for the IDs of men, and detaining anyone between the ages of 20 and 40.

"According to him, 2,000 people have been detained and placed in a sports stadium in Daraa. He also says police are taking away bodies of the dead to remove any evidence of widespread violence."

1407 GMT: A correspondent for The Guardian has this report:

Wissam Tarif told the Guardian at 4pm (2pm BST) that he has counted protests in 68 towns and villages so far today. He says at this time last week they had 43. But he says this week's protests have not been in central areas.

"The security divided up the cities and prevented people gathering in central areas, so most people - spontaneously - protested in their neighbourhoods," he said, pointing to two separate protests in al-Tel as an example.

He says eyewitnesses have told him that snipers are on rooftops in several towns and that live ammunition has been used in al-Tel and Hajr al-Aswad, both close to Damascus. He says he is unable to get information from the outskirts of Homs, although tanks are confirmed as inside the city.

Snipers on the roof? This report is being made by several sources, and video we've just uploaded on our separate video post seems to verify the reports

1328 GMT: And what of Bahrain? We've received no reports of large scale protests, but a very good report on Al Jazeera helps highlight the struggle facing the Shi'a minority there.


1315 GMT: These are all terrorists? Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in the main boulevard in the western edge of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen today. At one point, the protesters occupied a 5-mile stretch of the biggest road leading into the city. While these crowds appeared peaceful, President Saleh labeled them "looters...killers...terrorists" in a speach today.

Clearly, a hundred thousand peaceful terrorists.

1306 GMT: The latest from Syria: At least five protesters have been killed in Homs, and at least 1 has been killed in Hama. This EXTREMELY GRAPHIC video shows demonstrators attenpting to resuscitate a protester in Hama. 

1256 GMT: France has expelled 14 Libyan diplomats loyal to Colonel Gaddafi. This move comes as NATO nations are pressing to expand the mission in NATO. In recent days, annoucnements have been made that multiple nations will supply the rebels with non-military funding. All of this is happening over the loud protests of the Russian government, that has maintained that NATO is overstepping the UN security Council resolution

1245 GMT: In Yemen, large crowds turned out for post-prayer protests. This 10 minute clip shows an impressive crowd gathered there today. 

1240 GMT: Here are the latest reports. As many as 6 are killed in Homs. Protests are spreading throughout all regions of Syria, from Kurdish areas in the north, the southern areas where government forces have pulled back their tanks, and perhaps most importantly the suburbs of Damascus, and Damascus itself. 

We have posted a separate entry, featuring many new videos from today's protests in Syria. 

1229 GMT: Three new videos have emerged. The first shows video of a large, but peaceful protest in Damascus.


The second, also from Damascus, shows protesters chanting "Corrupt, corrupt, corrupt, the Syrian regime is corrupt."

The third shows a large protest in northeat Syria, in Qamishli.


1218 GMT: This report from a reliable source in Syria:

"In Der Al-Zor, three demonstrations were violently dispersed. The first on was in front of a Musab Ibn Amir mosque. The security forces and the police forces that brought in with five buses dispersed demonstrators through beating them with sticks and electrical cables. Thugs members were more than a thousand. The second demonstration was from Al-Safa mosque, the security forces shot heavily in the air and thugs have beaten people with batons, and the third demonstration was next to Uthman ibn Affan mosque, the security forces beat and disperse power and dozens of arrests in Der Al-Zor today"

1210 GMT: A new 41-page report about the Gaddafi siege of the rebel city of Misurata points to human rights abuses at the hands of pro-government forces. The report cites specific examples where peaceful protesters were specifically targeted, and it also documents the shelling and rocket attacks against a civilian population.

"The scale of the relentless attacks that we have seen by al-Gaddafi forces to intimidate the residents of Misratah for more than two months is truly horrifying."

1204 GMT: Human rights activists have told Reuters that secret police have arrest opposition leader Riad Seif at a demonstration in Damascus.

1155 GMT: James Miller taking the helm for a while.

Reuters is now reporting that thousands of protesters are gathering in Kurdish regions of Syria.

There are new reports of live fire being used against protesters. The Guardian, citing a reliable Twitter source, is reporting gunfire in Homs. This is backed by this account, which is also reporting shooting in Masbah Al-Sha'b in Latakia:

"Five revolutionaries in Homs reported wounded thus far, one bullet hit neck of protester. Heavy machine gun shooting in Homs."

Also, the link to the live feed from Baniyas has been added. 

1110 GMT: Idlib in northwestern Syria:

1100 GMT: A witness has told Reuters that Syrian security forces have fired at a protest in the town of Tel, just north of Damascus. Injuries are reported.

1052 GMT: Al Jazeera has been showing images of protesters in Al Maidan Square in Damascus.

There is also footage via an Internet LiveStream of thousands of demonstrators in the coastal town of Baniyas. Electricity has reportedly been cut off.

1050 GMT: A journalist reports a bit of class from the Yemeni President today, "Saleh calls protesters retards and terrorists in his Friday Prayers speech."

1045 GMT: We are getting a stream of reports of protests throughout Syria, including in the capital. Claimed footage from Damascus:

0940 GMT: Al Jazeera English posts a video report:


The once massive pro-democracy protests in Bahrain have been reduced to small clashes between youth and police in predominantly Shia Muslim areas.


Security forces have launched a crackdown on protesters marked by beatings and sweeping arrests. Nearly 1,000 demonstrators have been imprisoned, among them doctors, artists and lawyers.


0915 GMT: Ahmed Khalifa al-Kaabi, a spokesman for the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, said their foreign ministers will meet in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to try and salvage a deal for a transition of power in Yemen.

The GCC was on the verge of getting an agreement for President Saleh to hand over power within 30 days to his Vice President, but Saleh backed away last weekend.

0910 GMT: Syrian state TV has aired a statement from the Ministry of Interior, warning people not to demonstrate today. The ministry says anyone who wishes to march must get permission from the goverment and that no such permits have been issued.

0902 GMT: France has ordered 14 pro-regime Libyan diplomats out of the country.

Britain has expelled two more Libyan diplomats. Last month, after an attack on the British Embassy in Tripoli, it demanded that the Libyan Ambassador leave.

0900 GMT: A Red Cross spokesman has told The Guardian of London that a team has reached the southern Syrian town of Daraa, bringing medical supplies and assessing the need for more aid.

0520 GMT: A trumpeted meeting of the coalition's Libya Contact Group on Thursday turned out to be inconclusive. There had been talk of moves to provide financial assistance to the opposition, which claims to be facing a humanitarian crisis with shortages of food, medicine, and other vital supplies, but nothing was agreed.

The coalition put out the holding statement that it would create a temporary special fund to channel money to the National Transitional Council in Benghazi.

US officials said that some aid, from the unfreezing of Libyan assets abroad, might be forthcoming, but they gave no indication of timescale and cautioned that the money would be only be a small portion of the $30 billion that the regime holds overseas.

Still, the prospect was enough to provoke the Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim, "Libya still, according to the international law, is one sovereign state and any use of the frozen assets, it's like piracy on the high seas."

On the military front, only scattered reports of incidents: more than a dozen mortar rounds fired from Libya landed near the Tunisian border town of Dehiba and regime troops fired Grad rockets toward the outskirts of opposition-held Nalut in the western mountains.

0515 GMT: The Syrian regime tipped off its latest view of the uprising on Thursday. It signalled that the south, where the protests initially built, was no longer as critical, as the military pulled out of Daraa after a 10-day occupation. At the same time, it pointed to worries elsewhere: it put troops into Rastan near Homs, moved tanks near Baniyas on the coast, and even occupied two suburbs of Damascus.

Despite the show of force, all was not pacified. Claimed footage of a demonstration in Horan in the south:

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Latest Syria Video: The Protests Continue | Main | The Latest from Iran (6 May): "The Government Has Lifted Up Its Hands to Pray" »

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>