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Thousands mourn slain Syrian protesters

Thousands of Syrians attend the funerals of the nine protesters that was killed by Syrian security forces on Friday in Damascus

AFP , Saturday 5 May 2012
Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad after Friday prayers in Zabadani (Reuters)

Thousands of people took to the streets of Damascus on Saturday for funerals to mourn slain protesters, according to video streamed online, despite two explosions that rocked the Syrian capital.

The footage on showed one mass funeral-turned-protest in the city's Kfar Sousa district where security forces killed several demonstrators on Friday.

"Syria wants freedom!" and "God is great!" chanted the protesters. "We salute the (rebel) Free Syrian Army," read a slogan painted on a wall in Kfar Sousa where women were among those gathered.

Holding up pictures of some of the nine people the security forces killed in Damascus on Friday, mourners also denounced sectarianism, chanting "the Syrian people are one."

Government forces responded by using tear gas to disperse the procession, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Hundreds of people also took to the streets to honour the dead in the Damascus neighbourhood of Tadamon.

Amateur video posted online by activists showed mourners in Tadamon chanting slogans against the regime, as well as in support of the families of those killed.

"O fathers of the martyrs, stand proud!" they sang, while denouncing President Bashar al-Assad as "the traitor of Syria."

They came out despite a series of blasts that rocked Damascus and the northern commercial hub of Aleppo earlier on Saturday, killing at least five civilians in the second city, said the Observatory.

The Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman accused the government of carrying out the Damascus bombings to prevent people attending funerals for those killed in the capital on Friday.

"This is the highest death toll we have seen inside Damascus" since a ceasefire took hold, added Abdel Rahman, whose group says more than 600 people have been killed nationwide during the tenuous truce.

In a statement on Saturday, the opposition Syrian National Council called on UN observers to monitor the funeral processions in Kfar Sousa and Tadamon.

According to the United Nations, more than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since an anti-regime uprising broke out in March last year. The Observatory puts the toll at more than 11,000.

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