Syria protesters call for freedom


AMMAN – Thousands of Syrians chanted slogans calling for greater freedom at independence day rallies on Sunday, witnesses said, a day after President Bashar al-Assad promised to lift emergency law.
“The people want freedom,” several hundred people shouted at the grave of independence leader Ibrahim Hananu in Syria’s second city Aleppo, which has been mostly free of pro-democracy protests that erupted more than a month ago in the south. Hundreds also turned out in the southern city of Suweida, in the heart of the country’s Druze heartland.
They chanted “God, Syria, freedom, that’s all,” before coming under attack from Assad loyalists, a woman at the demonstration said. “They came at us with sticks and also hit us with the pictures they were carrying of Bashar — the same president who was talking about freedom yesterday,” she said.