“From alleyway to alleyway, from house to house, we want to overthrow you, Bashar”.
The movement against the repulsive, brutal regime of Bashar Assad continues to spread geographically and deepen in intensity.
On Monday 18 April thousands marched in the city of Homs to bury dead protesters killed over the weekend. Mourners chanted, “Either freedom or death, the people want to topple this regime!” Later Suhair Atassi, a prominent human rights activist, said 10,000 people had occupied Al-Saa square in the centre of Homs late on Monday night. Demonstrators said the square had been renamed Tahrir Square and they planned to occupy it until the regime fell.
The state responded by sealing off the town. Live ammunition and tear gas were used following a deadline to clear the area.
Over the past month of protests over 200 people have been killed by the regime in an effort to stamp out dissent. A number of soldiers have also died, possibly killed for refusing to fire on protesters.
However, demonstrations were also reported on Monday in the southern city of Daraa – where protests began a month ago — in the Barzeh district of the capital, Damascus, and in Ain al-Arab in the mainly Kurdish north.
Alongside repression, the regime has also promised reforms. It has released Kurdish and Islamist political prisoners. Assad also stated that 300,000 Kurds – born in Syria, but currently living without citizenship – would be granted Syrian nationality.
Most recently Assad has said the hated Emergency Laws, in force since 1963, would be abolished. However, the killings continue.