Let's continue our discussion from yesterdays Harvest Show about the Syrian unrest.
We spoke about the demonstrations and loss of life that has been happening in Deraa about 80 miles from Damascas.
President Bashar Assad has put together some reforms to appease the demonstrators, and their first application came after noon prayers today.
The oppositon called today for a day of “Dignity” – in an effort to carry the local Deraa protests on to Damascas and the whole of Syria. As of right now, we have seen at least 20 deaths from demonstrations throughout the country.
Assad seems to be following the examples of Egypt and Tunisia, rather than that of Libya, by not all out confronting demonstrations with military might, but rather passing on placatory measures to head off any big unrest.
News agenceys have been reporting that many political dissidents, writers, internet activists, and pro-democracy have been arrested by Syrian authorities.
But this did not stop the thousands of protesters marching to demand greater freedom. Fuelled after attending funerals for some 100 protesters shot dead by security forces in recent days, their challenge to the Baath party and Mr. Assad continues.
In the capital city of Damascus, demonstrations were reported, where some arrests were made as hundreds marched chanting: “Peaceful, Peaceful, God, Syria, Freedom”. They were broken up by security forces.
Yesterday, the Syrian government said it would consider political reforms, including the possible ending of emergency laws introduced in 1963. Under pressure of events spiraling out of control, the government have come up with a wide range of conciliatory decisions and other things that look good on paper.
The question is – how productive will they be? And is it too little too late to save Syria, as the ruling party knows it.
Middle East Corespondent