Eight killed in Syria as tens of thousands protest

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The Independent Online

Security forces opened fire on protesters yesterday, killing at least eight people as tens of thousands poured into streets across Syria chanting for the fall of President Bashar al-Assad and defying a military siege of Hama.

The violence comes a day after Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, accused the Syrian government of killing more than 2,000 of its own citizens during its crackdown on protests. "We think, to date, the government is responsible for the deaths of more than 2,000 people," Ms Clinton said. "Assad has lost his legitimacy to govern the Syrian people."

In Hama, the six-day-old assault on the city which has left at least 100 people dead seemed to do little to intimidate protesters, though the marches were somewhat smaller than previous Fridays. Protests also spread from the capital, Damascus, to the southern province of Deraa and to Deir al-Zour in the east. Other demonstrations were reported in Homs in the centre and in Qamishli, near the Turkish border. "Hama, we are with you until death," a crowd marching through Damascus shouted, chanting, "We don't want you Bashar," and "Bashar leave," according to videos posted online. Security forces opened fire with live ammunition and tear gas in several cities, activists said.