Facebook group calls for protests in Syria

President Bashar al-Assad

NICOSIA, February 1, 2011 (AFP) – A group of Syrian online activists are promoting a day of anger after prayers on Friday to call for a peaceful “2011 Syrian revolution” to end what they say is corruption and tyranny. The group has been using Facebook, which is officially banned but can easily be accessed through proxies, to call for a day of anger in an echo to Egypt’s week-long mass protests demanding regime-change. Its message, which has spread to Twitter, tells young Syrians to begin protests on Friday “after prayer, in what will be the first day of anger and civil rebellion by the Syrian people in all Syrian cities.” “You are like the youth of Tunisia and Egypt. We do not want a violent revolution but a peaceful uprising … Raise your voice in a peaceful and civilised manner, because freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution and the law,” the group said in an online statement. “We must no longer accept injustice. It’s the last straw,” says the group, which had amassed more than 7,800 members by Tuesday morning.

Addressing President Bashar al-Assad, they said: “We are not against you as a person but against ‘monocracy,’ corruption and tyranny and the fact the your family and friends have grabbed riches.” Another group called for a sit-in on Thursday at 3:00 pm in front of parliament “in solidarity with students, employees, the unemployed and penniless pensioners.” On Saturday afternoon, security forces prevented youth from gathering outside the Egyptian embassy in Damascus to express their solidarity with the popular Egyptian uprising against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. That show of solidarity with the Egyptian people was also organised online.

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