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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Largest Protests Ever?

Homes burn as gunfire rocks the Khalidiyah district of Homs on Friday night.

See also Egypt Live Coverage: Former President Mubarak Learns His Fate
Friday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Another Mass Execution?

1943 GMT: Lebanon. The toll from today's clashes in Tripoli between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime has risen to nine dead and 42 wounded, according to residents and a doctor.

1919 GMT: Syria. The Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria has said that 27 people died across the country today, including 11 in Homs Province and eight in Idlib Province.

A reporter for State TV, presenting live, is hit with a shoe by a man who shouts, "The Syrian TV is a liar!".

1914 GMT: Bahrain. Another image from today's demonstrations marking the 40th day of the death of Saleh Abbas Habib, allegedly killed by security forces --- the protesters are holding up images of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, the detained human rights activist who recently ended a 110-day hunger strike:

1814 GMT: Syria. A demonstration in the Salaheddin area of Aleppo today:

1639 GMT: Lebanon. New clashes have erupted in Tripoli between pro- and anti-Assad groups, security officials said, killing at least seven people and injuring 22.

The fighting in Tripoli started shortly before midnight and intensified today. Smoke was seen billowing from several apartments near Syria Street, the split between the mainly Sunni Bab Tabbaneh neighbourhood and the adjacent, Alawite-majority Jabal Mohsen. Gunmen were roaming the near-empty area.

At least eight people were killed last month in fighting in Tripoli.

1633 GMT: Turkey. Fazil Say, an internationally-prominent classical and jazz pianist and composer, has been charged with “publicly insulting religious values that are adopted by a part of the nation"in a series of Twitter messages.

A trial is scheduled to begin on 18 October, with Say facing up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

Some of the messages were written by Say, but one, which poked fun at an Islamic vision of the afterlife, was written by someone else and passed along by the pianist. Likening heaven’s promise of rivers of wine to a tavern and of virgins to a brothel, it referred to a poem by the 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam.

A Twitter post by Say, joked about a muezzin’s rapid delivery of the call to prayer, asking if he wanted to get away quickly for a drink.

The messages are no longer available on-line.

1614 GMT: Syria. United Nations envoy Kofi Annan has told a ministerial meeting in Doha, "The specter of an all-out war with a worrying sectarian dimension grows by the day." He continued:

The situation is complex and it takes everyone involved in the conflict to act responsibly if the violence is to stop. But the first responsibility lies in the Syrian government and President Assad.

Annan said he expressed his "deep concerns", saying the crisis is "at a tipping point", to Assad during his visit to Damascus earlier this week:

I told Assad he must act now to implement all points of the plan, and must make bold and visible steps immediately to radically change his military posture and honor commitment to withdraw heavy weapons and cease all violence.

Annan added that he told Assad to release detainees, open up the country to international humanitarian aid, and allow people to express their opinion freely.

At the meeting, Qatar urged Annan to set a timeframe for his peace mission, and asked the UN Security Council to apply Chapter VII, which permits military intervention.

Meanwhile, activists said 19 people were killed on Saturday amid raids and shelling by regime forces across the country, including Hamas, Homs Province, the Lattakia region, and the Damascus suburbs.

1534 GMT: Bahrain. A march in Bilad Qadeem today to honour those who have died in the uprising, notably Saleh Abbas, whose body was found on the eve of April's Formula 1 Grand Prix:

1523 GMT: Syria. "Hama Echo", the activist who posted troubling messages this afternoon (see 1442 GMT), is fine, but the reports from Hama are far from reassuring:

1442 GMT: Syria. A disturbing series of messages from an activist in Hama an hour ago:

1114 GMT: Bahrain. Claimed footage of police firing a tear gas canister directly at a cameraman in Karzakan on Friday night:

1032 GMT: Syria. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has said that there should be no amnesty for serious crimes, even if the threat of prosecution might motivate members of the regime to cling to power.

Pillay said international leaders seeking peace may be drawn to "politically expedient solutions which may involve amnesty or undertakings not to prosecute", but she insited, "You cannot have amnesty for very serious crimes. So my message is very clear --- there has to be accountability."

1025 GMT: Syria. An image of the march in Aleppo on Friday:

0702 GMT: Syria. A United Nations spokesperson said Friday that the UN's observer mission is now at its "full strength" of nearly 300 monitors.

Kieran Dwyer said 297 monitors were in the country: "The number will fluctuate. There will always be one or two coming in and one or two leaving."

The UN Security Council authorised the mission for 90 days. The mandate runs out on July 20.

0700 GMT: Syria. Protest last night in the Kafarsouseh section of Damascus:

0300 GMT: Syria. Yesterday was one of the most impressive protest days in the 15 1/2-month conflict' many activists are calling it the most impressive showing for peaceful demonstrations in Syrian history, with rallies in more than 600 unique locations. Protests crossed ethnic, sectarian, and religious lines. Some were very large, particularly in Aleppo and Damascus, two key cities over which the Assad regime must maintain control to survive.

Beyond the impressive videos of protests that we posted yesterday, activists collected over 900 clips which they have put on a spreadsheet and will locate on a map later today. Here are three more examples: one from the north, one from the south, and one in the centre of Syria, to give a flavour of the day's gatherings.

A massive protest in Al Bab, Aleppo:

On the other side of the country, a demonstration in Al Harak, Daraa province:

Every Friday has expressions of resistance, but yesterday felt even bigger and more important. The protest movement is growing in Syria, in defiance of the narratives of many Syrian experts. To re-iterate our end to Friday's Live Coverage:

The trend is now established and clear. The protest movement has been consistently growing in strength, and if it continues at this pace it poses a serious risk to the Assad regime. Beyond the protests, the amount of labor strikes, closed shops, sit ins, traffic disruptions, and general chaos across Syria threatens to erode the economy at an increasingly rapid pace.

The people of Syria have spoken yet again, in the clearest terms possible. Popular support for Assad is rapidly shrinking, and an ever-growing throng of voices are calling for the fall of the regime.

Will this fact collapse the regime on its own? No. However, it severely weakens the regime, costing it both legitimacy and money, two resources that the Assad regime is running out of. Without money, Assad may not be able to carry on his crackdown much longer. Without legitimacy, Assad will continue to suffer defections of both troops and government officials. Without strength, the Assad regime will be less able to resist the military forces that threaten it, both the FSA (which, granted, is far too weak to legitimately oppose Assad right now) and any outside intervention that may be down the pike.

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