Facebook Group Urges Syria Sit-In 'Until All Demands Met'
Facebook group The Syria Revolution 2011, which has emerged as the motor behind demonstrations demanding "freedom" in Syria, is calling for sit-ins across the country Friday despite a bid by the state to reach out to protesters.
"The Friday of Martyrs. In all governorates, in all mosques, in all squares. An overnight sit-in until our demands are met -- all our demands," read a banner poster as the group's profile picture.
"In loyalty to the blood of our martyrs in Daraa and Latakia. Be ready, oh people in revolt," read the group's status. "We do not give up -- we are victorious, or we die."
President Bashar al-Assad is to address the nation Wednesday, a senior official told Agence France Presse, in his first speech in two weeks of unprecedented dissent and a day after his cabinet resigned.
He is expected to elaborate on a string of reforms announced last week, amid a wave of dissent and protests demanding reform and more freedoms in the country, which has been ruled by the Baath party since 1963.
Presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaban has told AFP the state decided to lift the state of emergency, which has been in force since the Baath rose to power.
Syrian authorities are also studying the liberalization of laws on media and political parties, she said.
The popular Facebook group, which has pages in English and Arabic featuring videos of protests and scenes of police brutality, says its main goal is "freedom in Syria" with postings stating the "intifada against injustice has begun".
In a counter-show of force, hundreds of thousands of Assad supporters turned out for a state-organized rally in central Damascus on Tuesday, with massive crowds thronging other cities including Aleppo and Homs.