Katherine Marsh and Simon Tisdall
The Guardian
April 22, 2011

Syria endured its bloodiest day yet of the Arab Spring as mass protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad brought turmoil to dozens of towns and cities across the country and security forces reportedly gunned down dozens of people.

Despite a string of government concessions earlier in the week, including the lifting of the hated 48-year-old emergency law, tens of thousands of demonstrators demanding greater political freedom and an end to Ba’ath party rule took to the streets after Friday prayers.

Security forces that deployed overnight close to Damascus and other key cities ignored appeals to eschew violence, opening fire with live rounds and using teargas against several pro-democracy protests, activists and witnesses reported. Although firm information was difficult to obtain, at least 49 people were reported killed, including two in Douma, at least one in Homs, at least six in the southern town of Izraa, and others in Moudamiya, outside Damascus, the activists said.

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