Syrian forces were accused of firing nail bombs yesterday to disperse protesters as tens of thousands of people flooded streets across the country to make their voices heard to Arab monitors.
Protesters called for the ouster and prosecution of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose autocratic regime has been blamed for the deaths of more than 5,000 people since pro-reform protests erupted in March.
Activists urged monitors, who started a mission this week to implement an Arab League peace plan, to protect civilians from the regime’s wrath.
“We urge you to make a clear distinction between the assassin and the victim,” activists of the Syrian Revolution 2011 said in a statement on their Facebook page.
The death toll rose again yesterday, with at least five civilians killed by gunfire as Syrian forces dispersed crowds of protesters around the country, while four people died in an ambush by government troops, a watchdog said.
Huge demonstrations rocked northwestern Idlib Province and Douma, a Damascus suburb where protesters clashed with security forces who fired “nail bombs” to disperse them, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
At least 24 protesters were hurt when security forces fired “nail bombs to disperse tens of thousands of demonstrators in Douma,” the watchdog said, adding that the protesters “hurled stones” in retaliation.
In Douma, security forces also fired “stun grenades and tear gas” at protesters as 60,000 to 70,000 demonstrators headed to city hall, where Arab League observers visited the previous day.
It was the “biggest ever demonstration” in the restive suburb since March, it added.
Further north in Idlib Province, which borders Turkey, more than 250,000 protesters took the streets in various locations, the Observatory reported.
In the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the pro-democracy protests, five civilians were shot dead when security forces opened fire on crowds of protesters.
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit