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Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Meanwhile in Bahrain...

Two-part video of a march, followed by a security force patrol, in Abu Siba in Bahrain on Thursday night

See our separate video blogs, Syria Video Special: Friday's Protests Across the Country Set 1 and Set 2

2136 GMT: James Miller sums up the day.

July 22nd will be remembered by the world, because of a terrible act of terrorism in Norway, the bombing outside the Prime Minister's office in Oslo and the shootings in Utoeya. Many died, and the country was terrorized, but history might miss what may be a more important story, with larger implications.

In Syria, July 22nd may be remembered as a turning point. There were massive demonstrations in every major region, and in every major city, in the country, and at least 11 people died today.

In our first video blog, Scott Lucas documented protests in Idlib in the northwest, Artouz (Damascus province), Binnish (northwest), a truly massive protest in Hama (claims of 650,000+ protesters in the streets), Aleppo, Saraqab (Idlib province), Qamishili (northeast), Horan (south), Kobanî (Ain Arab) and Serê Kaniyê (Ras al-Ain) in the Kurdish area of Syria, Kafr Nabl in the northwest, and the Midan section at the heart of Damascus.

In our second video special, we see more massive protests in the Midan and Al-Qadam districts of Damascus, the suburbs of Damascus (Tal Rifaat, Harasta), huge crowds in Deir Ez Zor, northeast Syria, where as many as 550,000 gathered, Zabadani (north of Damascus), Idlib (northwest), Halfaya (Hama province), Jableh on the coast, Al-Raqqa, Lattakia, Homs, and the largest protest in Hama we've seen yet.

In one of the most important videos we've seen today, Syrian security bashes into the Amne Mosque in Aleppo, beating protesters. Perhaps even more important, the video we've posted below (1538) shows that military cadets joined the protesters in Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria, a city that has been unable to foster a sustained protest movement, but a city that erupted in protest today.

The security forces have fled Hama and Deir Ez Zor, they are trying to quell the protests in Homs and around Damascus and Aleppo, but they are not succeeding. It is hard to imagine that the regime has any strongholds of significance left. Through crackdowns, and threats of sectarian violence, the protests have only grown in both scale, scope, and reach. To repeat the rhetorical questions I asked earlier; Where AREN'T they protesting in Syria?

In Yemen, we also saw huge protests in several cities, where the protest movement also shows new signs of life (see videos at 1305).

We opened today's liveblog with Bahrain, so we'll close it with night protests in Bahrain.

1756 GMT: An activist translates this update from Shaam News:

Bab Sbaa-3 Tanks heading from Abu Moza roundabout (statue previously) towards Bab Sbaa in attempt to prevent defections in army

1736 GMT: Hundreds of protesters refused to leave their makeshift camp in Tahrir Square, Cairo, where they have been holding a sit-in protest for weeks.

"We are continuing the sit-in because the families of the martyrs have demands that have not been met yet," said Shadi Ghazali Harb from the Youth Coalition.

"The July 8 protests were triggered by the pending demands of families who are angry with the slow pace of prosecution of those who killed protesters," he added.

Harb said the Youth Coalition was forming a committee to meet the interior and justice ministries to press the demands of families of the 840 Egyptians killed in the anti-Mubarak revolt.

Their demands include putting officers charged with shooting demonstrators into "protective custody so they would not intimidate the families of martyrs" and appointing a new prosecution team to swiftly look into outstanding cases of killings of protesters.

1715 GMT: In Taiz, Yemen, a 10 year-old girl and her mother were killed, and her 5 year-old sister wounded, as a government shell burst through the side of her home today.

Also, a State TV presenter came under attack.

Also Friday, Yemen's Press Union said that someone had opened fire on the car of state TV presenter Yasser al-Mualemi, who has declared his backing for the anti-government protesters. He was wounded in the led.

The Union called the Thursday night attack an "assassination attempt" and appealed to Yemeni authorities to find and punish the shooter.

1706 GMT: A clarification, perhaps, of a story we reported on yesterday, that Colonel Gaddafi's brother-in-law, intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, was injured in an assassination attempt.

A member of the National Transitional Council is confirming that there was an attack, and that one member of the meeting, probably Gaddafi's former body guard, was severely injured:

Ali Essawi, in charge of foreign affairs for the NTC fighting Gaddafi, said one of the Gaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam, Prime Minister al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi, intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and an official named Mansour Daw were in the room at the time of the attack yesterday.

Daw is a former bodyguard of Gaddafi who is a close aide.

“Yesterday there was a very strong signal in Tripoli — that there was an attack (on) an operations room where there were senior and high, top-level officials including Saif al-Islam, al-Baghdadi Mahmoudi, Abdullah Senussi and Mansour, who (was) severely injured,” Essawi told a news conference in Rome.

“We confirm this.”

1653 GMT: Back from a break to find more news from Syria. The LCCS has these updates, which have not been verified:

Daraa: Nawa, A dense spread of security forces and army forces in town. Snipers and machine guns are set up on buildings and houses roofs. Besides forbidding prayers in mosques except for a few. Also, al-Muhammadi mosque which is the largest in town is encircled by secuirty forces

Damascus Suburbs: Daraya: Today, the young amazing activist Islam Dabbas, born 1990, was arrested. He is one of the most prominent activists of Daraya, and with most determination and belief in love and peace. He insisted on approaching the soldiers and security agents to hand them flowers. They reacted by arresting him in a brutal and violent manner. Last Friday, he was in the front row in an initiative to provide water bottles and roses to soldiers and members of the security forces

Damascus: Midan: The fashion designer Tareq Mashnouq, born 1980, was detained during a demonstration in Midan

Aleppo: Funeral of the martyr Ahmed Sameh Kanu, the second martyr in A'azaz due to gunfire of security forces at today's protest

1531 GMT: In Aleppo, more potentially game-changing news. This video clearly Syrian military cadets marching and chanting anti-Assad slogans alongside protesters, reportedly in Aleppo today.

Meanwhile, Scott Lucas is compiling more videos from the day, notably amazing videos from in and around Aleppo and Damascus, the two largest, and arguably most important, cities in Syria.

1516 GMT: It will be overshadowed by protests on a historic scale in Syria (which, in turn, may be overshadowed by the explosions in Oslo), but there are very large anti-Saleh protests today in Yemen. Meanwhile, the Yemen Youth Coalition has announced that they are forming a "Revolutionary Council" that they are urging all other councils (including the others formed in recent weeks) to join.

Muhammad Abdul Wahab Al-Qadhi was named as the council coordinator and Abdul Bari Tahir as official spokesman.

The revolutionary council will be finally declared after discussions with all uprising components in the coming days, they said.

"We are at a critical moment that requires good decisions and revolutionary choices to oust the regime and build a new civil Yemen," they said in a statement following their meeting.

"Making the popular revolution a success depends on its peaceful trend and all revolutionary acts come to prevent it from deviation," the statement said.

The price of bread has increased by 50% in the last two months, due to the unrest and fuel shortages. The Economist offers analysis, and a colorful report from the merchants of Sana'a.

1448 GMT: Al Jazeera has this report about the growing protests near Hama:

More than 10,000 protesters are marching through Qalaat al-Madiq, 40km north-west of Hama, near the Roman colonnades of Apamea, an activist in the town told Al Jazeera. He said that while there is no security inside the town, it is surrounded by security forces preventing protesters from joining the protests in Hama.

1440 GMT: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (London based) is reporting that 550,000 protesters gathered today in Deir Ez Zor, and 650,000 gathered today in Hama, two locations where the Syrian military and security forces seem to have virtually abandoned. We can't verify these numbers, but based on the video evidence, the quality and quantity of grass-roots reporting we've been receiving all morning, and the amount of locations that are reporting protests, it is increasingly clear that today may be the largest demonstration in Syria since the beginning of the Arab Spring.

1435 GMT: The Local Coordinating Committees of Syria (LCCS) is reporting on the protests in Aleppo. In Tal Refaat, just outside the city, protesters are gathered at several mosques. There are no reports of clashes there.

The LCCS is also reporting a list of martyrs, killed today, and Le Figaro is confirming that at least 4 have been killed across Syria:

Idlib: Falling of martyr Mohammad Hussain Hameed, 35 years old, his brother got shot in a demonstration in Kafroomeh

Damascus suburbs: Falling of martyr Husam Harastani after shooting at a demonstration in Mleeha

Homs: Security Forces life gunfire toward the funeral of martyr Hussam Al Din AL shaar, which was killed this morning by snipers direct shooting at Al Fakhura square, no news about any additional injuries

>1409 GMT: An activist Tweets this news about Aleppo:

"200 Young men protested in Al Bab #Aleppo chant for toppling the regime, sec forces dispersed them with beatings & clubs"

The man who was killed (2 latest updates below)was in the Izzaz (or A'azaz) neighborhood. This new report is consistent with other rumors and reports of arrests in and around Aleppo. It's going to be hard to pin down many of these reports until after the smoke has cleared (literally AND figuratively) but they suggest, as do what few videos we've seen from Aleppo so far today, that the crowds there are large.

1348 GMT: This graphic video claims to show the body of Basel Farouq Mara'anazy, killed in Aleppo (see immediately below).

1343 GMT: An activist has this report:

"Aleppo suburbs: Falling of martyr Basel Farouq Mara'anazy due to random gun fire at a demonstration in A'azaz."

1336 GMT: Our second set of videos from Syria is up and running. Already we have video of a massive protest ongoing in Deir Ez Zor (northeast), but perhaps more significant, we have two videos from central parts of Damascus, where protests are spreading.

Once again, we have another Friday, protests are at least as widespread as they ever have been (perhaps larger and more widespread than ever). Now, for we see regular protests in and around Damascus, and today, for the first time in several weeks, we're seeing large demonstrations in Aleppo, where casualties are reported.

We're trying to track these protests, but perhaps a more fruitful question would the a rhetorical one: In Syria, where aren't they protesting?

1326 GMT: So far, there are at least 2 people killed today in Homs and Aleppo:

"One demonstrator was knifed to death outside the Amneh mosque in Aleppo, and another was shot dead by security forces in Homs," said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"Dozens of people were wounded and dozens more arrested" in Aleppo, he said. Security forces also wounded several people when they fired on demonstrators in Idlib.

1321 GMT: The Syrian regime may have been counting on divisions between the Kurds and the Arabs to hinder protests in northeastern Syria, but they have miscalculated. Security forces have attempted to disrupt protests in both Qawalishi and Hassake. An eyewitness tells AJE,

“There were rumours that the Kurds would not protest today because of disagreements with other opposition groups on the issue of naming a future Syria, the Syrian Arab Republic...The regime was betting on cracks emerging between Arabs and Kurds, but today’s demonstrations in the Kurdish areas prove that the Kurds still share the same united goals of the revolution.”

1315 GMT: The Guardian's colleague, Layth Qattan, is updating this map of today's protests in Syria, complete with links to videos.

View Protest Videos 22 July in a larger map

1305 GMT: Anti-Saleh protesters in Dhamar, Yemen (western), today:

Anti-government protests in Ibb (southern Yemen)

A massive crowd of protesters in Saada, Yemen (northwest), chant "We will not give in, no matter the challenges. Leave."

Protesters is Saada, Yemen, call for the fall of the regime.

1255 GMT: Overnight, tanks shelled residential neighborhoods in Homs, killing at least 5 people. This raises the death toll in Homs for the week to 38.

1245 GMT: There are now unconfirmed reports of gunfire in Homs, the Mleiha suburb of Damascus (southeast of the center of the city), and there is a report of at least one casualty in Aleppo. There are also reports of 700,000 protesters in Hama. In our separate video entry, we see protesters attacked by clubs in Aleppo, huge protests in the northeast and the northwest, and gunfire ringing out in Kafr Nabl.

1230 GMT: James Miller takes the blog...

There are now over 400,000 protesters in the streets of Dier Ez Zor, in the northeastern. Hundreds of Syrian security members has attacked protesters in Qawalishi, a mainly Kurdish city.

1200 GMT: We have now moved our videos of protest in Syria today to a separate entry.

See also Syria Video Special: Friday's Protests Across the Country

1120 GMT: Reports of today's protests in Syria are escalating, with Al Jazeera Arabia showing live shots from Daraa in the south and claims of large demonstrations from Deir Ez Zor in the northeast to Idlib in the northwest.

1115 GMT: Protests in Tahrir Square are reportedly smaller today than on previous Fridays, with "hundreds" reportedly gathering to participate in the “Friday of Decision”.

Opposition groups are protesting Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s newly reshuffled Cabinet and the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces' proposed law for Parliamentary elections this autumn, as well as continuing their objections over the treatment of families of those killed during the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak.

Meanwhile, a split over the Tahrir Square protest has emerged as El-Sayed El-Badawi, the head of Egypt's Wafd Party, denounced those sitting-in at Tahrir and squares in Alexandria and other cities as "opportunists". He claimed that the protesters played no role in the January uprising.

Revolutionary Youth Coalition members, who called for the uprising, responded that Badawi was the last person to judge roles in the 25 January Revolution, since the Wafd was conspicuously absent.

The Wafd Party took part in the sit-in that resumed in Tahrir on 10 July but pulled out on Tuesday.

1040 GMT: Speakers at a pro-regime rally aired on Yemeni state television, speakers have used religious arguments to call for all sides to join a regime dialogue.

The speakers also thanked Saudi Arabia for taking care of President Saleh and for supporting Yemen.

1030 GMT: Catching up with Libya, where leader Muammar Qaddafi gave an audio message to a crowd in his home town of Sirte on Thursday, "There will be no talks between me and them [opponents and the foreign coalition] until Judgment Day. They need to talk with the Libyan people...and they will respond to them."

Foreign diplomatic efforts to find a solution have intensified as the fighting drags on. China said it would work with the African Union, which has proposed a plan more accommodating to Qaddafi than the "Western" plan which insists on his departure from power.

0800 GMT: The New York Times summarises the political situation in Morocco, "Democratic Changes Fail to Appease All":

A landslide vote in a July 1 referendum paved the way for a new constitution, introducing more freedoms and gender equality. The constitution was approved by 98 percent of those who voted, winning King Mohammed VI congratulations from world leaders, including President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But critics dispute the validity of the referendum, saying that only 13 million of 20 million eligible Moroccans were registered to vote. They also say the constitution fails to enshrine significant separations of powers within the government.

Leading democracy activists including the February 20 Movement for Change, which began on Facebook and has carried out a series of rallies in major cities, have rejected the outcome and pledged to continue to fight for the establishment of a fully democratic state.

Abdeslam Maghraoui, a political science professor at Duke University in North Carolina specializing in North Africa, said the referendum was a short-term fix for Morocco’s problems.

“It seems that the monarchy and its supporters have managed to pull together a hasty and contested constitutional referendum,” he said. “This will give the monarch a few weeks or months to claim a political victory.”

Mr. Maghraoui said irregularities in the voting process and opposition from large segments of civil society, the main Islamist movement and some political parties had delegitimized the process.

“I would not be surprised at all if we go back to an atmosphere of crisis and possibly violence before the end of the year,” he said.

0655 GMT: Amnesty International has declared that a secret anti-terror law drafted by Saudi authorities would "strangle peaceful protest".

The BBC, which has seen a classified copy of the law, says it includese lengthy detention without trial, restricted legal access, and increased use of the death penalty.

A Saudi official claimed the measures are directed at terrorists, not dissidents, but the law broadens the definition of a terrorist crime to include any action deemed to be "harming the reputation of the state" or "endangering national unity".

Suspects could be held incommunicado for up to 120 days --- longer if authorised by a court --- and access to legal advice would be restricted.

Questioning the integrity of Saudi Arabia's rulers will be punished by a minimum of 10 years in prison.

0520 GMT: As we prepare to cover another Friday of protests, we begin with the conflict which has been left behind. In Bahrain, the regime is declaring that its "national dialogue" is moving towards success, despite the withdrawal of the country's largest opposition party, but --- despite the watch of security forces --- some Bahrainis are still coming out on the streets in demonstrations.



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