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Syria: Newroz 2011 more peaceful than ever

KURDWATCH, March 24, 2011—On March 21, 2011, the Kurdish New Year’s festival Newroz was celebrated in Damascus and Aleppo, as well as in numerous cities in al-Hasakah province. The celebrations included the showing of Kurdish flags, performances of theater and folkdances, and political speeches. Whereas celebrations in previous years led to arrests and skirmishes, sometimes with deaths, this year the security forces kept their distance from the festival-goers. In the evening, some of the celebrants in al-Qamishli marched through the city demanding »freedom«. The action was spontaneous and did not stem from the Kurdish political parties. The majority of these parties seem to not want to be involved in demonstrations that are critical of the regime. A leading member of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî) confirmed to KurdWatch that members of Yekîtî and other Kurdish parties dispersed a gathering of Kurdish youth planning a demonstration against the regime in ʿAmudah the day before.

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