Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Coastal highway between two cities blocked by women and children demonstrating against government crackdown
Haroon Siddique and agencies
Guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 13 April 2011
"Hundreds of Syrian women have marched along the country's main coastal highway to demand the release men seized from their hometown, human rights activists said. Security forces, including secret police, stormed the town of Baida, going into houses and arresting hundreds of men after locals joined anti-government protests, according to the activists. Video showed a large crowd, most of them women, marching along the road leading to Turkey as they chanted: "We want the men of Baida." Women demonstrated in support in the nearby Mediterranean city of Banias, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said 350 men were arrested in Baida. An activist on Twitter put the number at 800 and said she would release the names of 111 of those detained soon. A human rights lawyer in contact with people in the town told Reuters that security forces had arrested 200 residents in Baida, killing two people. "They brought in a television crew and forced the men they arrested to shout 'We sacrifice our blood and our soul for you, Bashar'," the lawyer said. "Syria is the Arab police state par excellence. But the regime still watches international reaction, and as soon as it senses that it has weakened, it turns more bloody."......"