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Al-Qamishli: Regime critics demonstrate again, Assyrian activists arrested

KURDWATCH, May 26, 2011—As numbers of injured and dead increased during protests in several Syrian cities across the country on May 20, 2011, demonstrations in al‑Qamishli, ʿAmudah, Darbasiya, Raʾs al‑ʿAyn (Serê Kaniyê), ʿAfrin, and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî) remained predominantly peaceful. More than 20,000 people are estimated to have taken part in street demonstrations. Slogans in al‑Qamishli were heard in Arabic, Kurdish and Aramaic, revealing the national character of the protests. The motto of the country-wide protests on May 20 had a similar goal: it was »Friday of freedom«, and the Arabic word for freedom was replaced by the Kurdish one, »azadî«.
After the demonstrations in al‑Qamishli on May 20, 2011 thirteen leading members of the Christian Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO) were arrested by members of the criminal police there: Dr. Malak Yaʿqub (vice president of the politburo), Gabriel Romanos (member of the politburo), Karam Dawla (member of the politburo), Dr. Samir Ibrahim (member of the central committee), Barsom Yusuf, Gawrieh Shabo, Yaʿqub Gharibo, George Odisho, Hanna Ishaq, Ghandi Safar, Fahd Yusuf, Dawud Habib, and Hanna Sanharib. On the same day, ADO’s office was searched and computers and other files were confiscated. On May 21, 2011, the automobiles of those arrested were confiscated. The government was apparently reacting to the public solidarity between Kurds and Assyrians.
Already on May 18, 2011 smaller demonstrations had taken place in al‑Qamishli, with several hundred participants, and in ʿAfrin, with approximately one hundred fifty participants.


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