BEIRUT — Syrian security forces killed 27 anti-government protesters in several towns and cities after prayers Friday, mostly in Damascus, amid indications that opposition to President Bashar al-Assad is hardening in the capital.
According to the Local Coordination Committees, a group that organizes and monitors protests, 22 people were killed in neighborhoods and suburbs of Damascus, the highest daily toll there since the nationwide uprising began four months ago. Activists said the protests in the capital were also the largest yet, pointing to what they say is a rising tide of anti-Assad sentiment in the heart of his government’s power base.
Rami Abdelrahman of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that 50,000 people took to the streets in and around the city.
Violence in Yemen leaves 10 dead; protests persist
SANAA, Yemen — At least 10 Yemenis were killed Friday in fighting between government forces and tribesmen seeking to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh, officials said, raising fears about a collapse of security during a popular uprising in the Arab world’s poorest country.
The violence began when armed tribesmen attacked a military convoy, killing a colonel and two of his aides near Sharab, 12 miles northwest of Taiz, security officials said. Hours later, the Yemeni army fired tank and artillery shells into Taiz, killing at least seven civilians and wounding more than 30 others, according to medical officials.
The disintegrating security across Yemen has allowed armed tribesmen and radical Islamist groups to take over parts of the country’s weakly governed provinces. The U.S. worries that Yemen’s active al-Qaida branch will exploit the chaos to step up operations.
Egyptians rally, demand trials for police shooters
CAIRO — Thousands of Egyptians, increasingly impatient with their interim military rulers, rallied Friday in the nation’s two largest cities, ringing a security building with chants of “Oh police, you are thugs” and demanding trials for police officers suspected of killing of hundreds of activists in the uprising that brought down Hosni Mubarak.
The protests in the capital of Cairo and the port city of Alexandria were billed as the “Friday of Last Warning” to the military council that took over from Mubarak and is to lead Egypt to democracy. Large crowds streamed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square as the sun set, bringing relief from the day’s soaring temperatures.
For the past week, hundreds of hardcore activists have camped out at Tahrir Square, birthplace of the 18-day popular uprising that ousted Mubarak on Feb. 11.