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Protesters take to streets as Arab League monitors arrive

Protesters fear reprisals when Arab League monitors leave the country

Demonstrators protest against President Bashir al-Assad after Friday prayers last week in Binsh Demonstrators protest against President Bashir al-Assad after Friday prayers last week in Binsh
  • International
  • December 28, 2011
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Tens of thousands of Syrians have taken to the streets in the flashpoint city of Homs to rally against President Bashar al-Assad and plead for newly-arrived Arab peace monitors to bear witness to their plight.

About 70,000 protesters marched towards the city center yesterday where security forces fired at them and lobbed teargas, activists said.

The military withdrew some tanks, in what the activists called a ploy to persuade the monitors that the city was calm. Footage on the Internet showed monitors confronted by residents as gunfire crackled around them.

The Arab League observers, who arrived in the country on Monday, want to determine if Assad is keeping his promise to implement a peace plan to end his military crackdown on nine months of popular revolt.

The monitors were due to return today to Homs where crowds have pleaded for them to visit the most violent neighborhoods. Activists say tanks ran amok and scores of people have been killed in recent days.

Live broadcasts by Al Jazeera television showed tens of thousands of protesters gathered yesterday in the Khalidiya district - one of those yet to be visited by monitors - shouting and whistling and waving white flags.

One activist held up a sign to the camera that read: "We are afraid when the monitors leave they will kill and bury us."

Fully story: Mass anti-Assad protest in Homs as monitors visit

Source: Reuters
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